8 games into the ACC season the Blue Devils took a break from league play to face the St. John’s Red Storm. Chris Mullin’s St. John’s Red Storm entered Cameron Indoor Stadium at 16-5, 4-5 in the Big East. The Red Storm began the season on a 12 game winning streak but had only managed to go 5-5 in their last 10 games. The two team both came in averaging over 80 points a game. The Blue Devils started fast against the Red Storm’s zone defense hitting their first three 3-point shoots triggering the Red Storm to switch back to their bast man-to-man. After Duke jumped to a 12-5 lead the Red Storm battled back to knot the game at 21 a piece.
The Blue Devils pulled away from the Red Storm after that, ending the half on a 26 to 16 run and a ten point lead. Tre Jones and his defense against junior guard Shamorie Ponds keyed Duke in this game. Ponds, in the first half had 0 points and 5 turnovers.
The second half saw the Blue Devils break away from the Red Storm on the strength of another run. A 16 to 2 run in the first 5 minutes of the second half effectively sealed the game for the Blue Devils who went on win the game by 30 points. The Blue Devils ratcheted up the defensive pressure and only surrendered 24 second half points to the Red Storm.
Zion Williamson exploded for 29 points for the Blue Devils. The freshman forward went 13-17 from the field, had 5 steals, 2 blocks and 6 rebounds. Williamson had his 14th game this season reaching 20 points – the second most in the ACC this season behind teammate RJ Barrett (16).
When Williamson was asked if this game was a revenge game for the loss last year to St John’s in the Garden, the freshman answered, “Of course. This is the brotherhood – it doesn’t just represent the players on that one team. It represents all the players that have come through [Duke], so it was kind of like a redemption win.”
The Blue Devils ended the game with 5 double figure scorers including R.J. Barrett who scored 15 points. RJ Barrett posted his fourth double-double with 15 points and 14 rebound (two shy of career high), four assists and two steals in 33 minutes. Duke also got double figure efforts from Cam Reddish who scored 16, Marques Bolden who scored 10 and Tre Jones who added 13 points and 7 assists. Next up for Duke is a home game against Boston College on Tuesday.
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