Sidelines with John Clay

After rout of Kentucky, Duke’s freshmen pick up where they left off

Duke forward Cam Reddish (2) gets congratulated for a three pointer by forward Javin DeLaurier (12) as the team heads to the bench during a second half timeout. Duke defeated Army 94-72 at Cameron Indoor Stadium In Durham, N.C. Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.
Duke forward Cam Reddish (2) gets congratulated for a three pointer by forward Javin DeLaurier (12) as the team heads to the bench during a second half timeout. Duke defeated Army 94-72 at Cameron Indoor Stadium In Durham, N.C. Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Five days after smashing Kentucky in the Champions Classic, Duke’s trio of freshmen stars got right back to business on Sunday, taking care of Army 94-72.

Zion Williamson picked up where he left off in Indianapolis, scoring 27 points and grabbing 16 rebounds against the Black Knights. Cameron Reddish chipped in 25. R.J. Barrett added 23.

So the trio of star freshmen contributed 75 of Duke’s 94 points. The three scored 83 points in last Tuesday’s remarkable 118-84 rout of Kentucky at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Barrett scored 33 that night. Williamson added 28 and Reddish 22.

Kentucky returned to action Friday, rallying from a seven-point second half deficit to beat Southern Illinois 71-59.

Duke shot 48.6 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from three-point range, making 15 of 36 from behind the arc. Army shot just 35.9 percent and made 12 of 31 threes for 38.7 percent.

The Black Knights gave Duke a much tougher game than Kentucky did. Duke’s halftime lead was just 50-42. And Army trailed just 67-61 with 12:14 left before being outscored 27-11 the rest of the way.

“Army played terrific,” Duke Coach and Army alumnus Mike Krzyzewski said afterward. “They played hard. They played together. They played fast, The perfect game for us following Kentucky as we grow as a team. I didn’t think our preparation for the game was at the level that it has been and part of that has to do with winning the game by as much as we did in that setting against Kentucky.”

Even Coach K is surprised how Duke’s freshmen have shown their talent

Eastern Michigan is up next for Duke on Wednesday night. San Diego State visits Cameron Indoor on Monday, Nov. 19. Then Duke welcomes Romeo Langford and Indiana to Durham on Tuesday, Nov. 27 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Indiana is 2-0 with wins over Chicago State (104-55) and Montana State (80-35). The Hoosiers have an interesting game Wednesday when they play host to Marquette at 8:30 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

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Langford, IU’s heralded freshman guard from New Albany, scored 19 points in his college debut, making seven of 12 shots from the floor. He did miss all three of his three-point attempts and was just five of 11 from the free throw line, however.

He was held to just 12 points against Montana State, going five of eight from the floor, one of four from three-point land and one of three from the three-point line.

As for Duke, the Blue Devils are still No. 2 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings behind Kansas (1-0). Duke is No. 1 in offensive efficiency and No. 7 in defensive efficiency. Kansas is No. 3 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Kentucky is No. 9 in the kenpom rankings. UK is seventh in offensive efficiency, but 23rd in defensive efficiency.

UK is back in action on Wednesday night against North Dakota at 9 p.m. in Rupp Arena.

More links:

Freshmen forward stars as Kentucky women rout Southern

Duke’s freshmen know there will be challenges ahead

What was the value of Kentucky’s three-point streak?

Top 25: Who says SEC is a football league?

Tough mid-major Vermont plays Kansas on Monday night

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