The Blue Devils looked to take their 8 game winning streak to 9 against an up-and-down NC State squad. NC State is a team who held the longest current winning streak against Coach K’s Blue Devils at 2 games – one streak had to come to an end. After the 23 point comeback on the road against Louisville, Coach K remarked how tired his club was – the stage was set for Duke to take a misstep.
The Blue Devils were able to build 13 point lead in the first half but the Wolfpack were able to trim that lead to 8 points early. The teams volleyed with Duke and the Wolfpack shooting 47 and 46 percent in the first half respectively. Part of the game plan for the Blue Devils was to chase State off of the 3 point line and in the first half the Blue Evils accomplished this to the tune of 11% shooting for the Wolfpack from beyond the arc in the first half. The margin at the half for the Wolfpack was 8 points, still a manageable margin.
The second half saw the Blue Devils make an early run with 3 straight dunks to push the lead to 14 points. The Wolfpack never went away, keeping game pressure on the Blue Devils throughout but were never able to get the lead closer than 7 points, despite shooting 50% from 3 point range in the second half. Duke, in the second half used their size mismatch in the paint to get Zion Williamson going. Zion did his work in the middle of the NC State defense and scored a game high 32 points on 12-16 shooting. This marks the freshmen’s third 30-point game this season. Freshman RJ Barrett recorded the fourth triple-double in Duke history with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in 37 minutes. It is Duke’s first triple-double since Shelden Williams (19 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks) versus Maryland in 2006.
The two stats of note for the Blue Devils were the rebounding battle which Duke won 44-26 and the free throw line where Duke as a team went 21-28 for 75% ( 8 points over their average). Next up for the Blue Devils is the North Carolina Tar Heels.