Duke fans were abuzz with the news that freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden would play against Maine. For Tatum it would be his first start in a Duke uniform, in a meaningful game and the freshmen showed some flashes of why he’s a future first rounder. Clearly some rust needed to be knocked off but Tatum did score 10 points and was 2 rebounds shorts of a double-double with 8. Tatum was aggressive to start but settled down and worked into the flow of the offense.
Bolden scored 7 points off the bench and pulled down 5 rebounds in the game and looked impressive cleaning up Duke misses for put backs. There were also some signs of rim protection – something Duke fans have not seen this season.
Maine hung tough in the second half until a last second buzzer beater 3 pointer byLuke Kennard put Duke up 14. Duke would use that momentum to outscore the Black Bears by 25 in the second half. The freshman may have been the story before the game but all eyes were on Luke Kennard and his career high 35 points. Kennard lit up the Maine defense from everywhere. Kennard was 11 of 16 from the floor and also pulled down 8 rebounds.
Amile Jefferson also had a career high 20 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. The senior big man also added 2 steals and 2 blocks in a stat stuffing performance.
Duke rested freshman Frank Jackson and junior guard Grayson Allen and Duke didn’t miss a beat. Allen is nursing a toe injury and Jackson just overloaded with minutes is getting a break.
Duke shot 85.6% from the free-throw line, a marked improvement
Duke also shot 42.9% from 3 one of their better performances on the season
Duke also won the rebounding battle 49-22.
Not much bad in the game for Duke but allowing junior guard Ilker Er to score 20 first half points when he wasn’t averaging double digits on the season.