Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the Gonzaga Bulldogs | Maui Invitational

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NOVEMBER 21st 5:00PM
ESPN

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Next up for the Blue Devils is a date with the number 3 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in the finals of the Maui Invitational. The Zags are fresh off of a win against Arizona where they came back from 8 down at the half to win going away by blasting the Wildcats in the second half to the tune of  54-29 to win 91-74.

The Zags are led in scoring by junior forward Rui Hachimura. Hachimura, who has developed into a very dangerous player who can score all over the floor, is averaging 23 points and just under 6 rebounds a game. Hachimura is coming off of an efficient 24 point performance against a tough Arizona team that saw him go 10-16 from the floor. The engine that makes the Bulldogs go is senior guard Josh Perkins who is averaging 8.6 assists per game and 12 points. The Zags start 1 senior, 2 sophomores and 2 juniors but the most dangerous person on the court and the one I feel Duke needs to pay the most attention to is sophomore guard Zach Norvell Jr. Norvell is a big shot hitter for the Zags, averaging just under 18 points a game. Norvell isn't shooting a high percentage from the field or from 3 but in watching the Zags he hits timely buckets and is a go to for corner 3's, especially on fast breaks and off of loose ball situations or offensive rebounds.

Duke is led by freshman R.J. Barrett in the scoring category, Barrett is a volume shooter and is typically Duke's go to option - Barrett is averaging 22.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. Zion Williamson comes in averaging 20.4 points and 9 rebounds a game for the Blue Devils but has had more muted performances in the last 2 games. The freshman forward will have to adjust to how defenses are playing him in order to become more effective.

Cam Reddish has been Duke's bail out guy hitting timely 3's both in transition and in the half-court. Reddish is shooting currently at 42.5% from beyond the arc and averaging just under 17 points per game.

Duke will need another good performance defensively from their freshman point guard Tre Jones who comes in averaging 6 assists and 8 points a game. The strength of Jones' game so far are his ability to get the ball into the hands of the right players and his on the ball defense has been superb. This thread from Chris Bunn illustrates how good Jones has been defensively for Duke:

There's a lot for a young Blue Devil team to contend with when considering how good this Gonzaga team is and the amount of weapons at Mark Few's disposal. Things that Duke did against the Tigers that they absolutely cannot do against the Zags is:

  1. Take bad shot and
  2. have live ball turnovers.

This game may come down to which team plays better on tired legs. The team that can convert in the half court efficiently, limit turnovers and utilize their bench should be the team with the advantage.

DUKE 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
36%
GONZAGA 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
33%
DUKE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
49%
GONZAGA SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
53%
DUKE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
64%
GONZAGA FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
75%
Duke PPG
92.8
GONZAGA PPG
98.6
  • G Tre Jones 6'2 183lbs
  • F R.J. Barrett 6'7 202lbs
  • F Cam Reddish 6'8 218lbs
  • F Zion Williamson 6'7 285lbs
  • C Marques Bolden 6'11 250lbs
  • G Josh Perkins 6'3 186lbs
  • G Zach Norvell Jr. 6'5 205lbs
  • F Corey Kispert 6'6 215lbs
  • F Brandon Clarke 6'7 190lbs
  • F Rui Hachimura 6'8 225lbs

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