DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Zion Williamson jumped a lazy pass by Indiana near midcourt. All of a sudden, nothing stood between him and yet another must-see dunk.
No. 3 Duke put its lone loss firmly in the past just as easily as Williamson left those Hoosiers in his wake.
Williamson scored 25 points, R.J. Barrett added 22 and Duke routed Indiana 90-69 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
No play sent a louder message than the steal by Williamson that ended in a Dominique Wilkins-style windmill jam.
“I tipped it, and when I saw the ball bounce, I knew I was going to get it, so all I did was take a quick look back,” Williamson said. “They stopped running, so I said, you know, let’s give the (Cameron) Crazies a little something to cheer for.”
Zion had a dunk fest in Cameron 💪pic.twitter.com/J24LKxZTuo— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 28, 2018
Tre Jones added 15 points and a fourth Duke freshman — Cameron Reddish — finished with 13 to help the Blue Devils (6-1) bounce back from their lone loss and win one of the made-for-TV event’s glamour matchups. This one featured a handful of potential NBA lottery picks — the Duke freshmen and Indiana’s Romeo Langford — on the floor at the same time.
Duke looked nothing like the group that lost to Gonzaga last week in the Maui Invitational final . The Blue Devils never trailed, shot 52 percent and turned a season-worst 20 turnovers by Indiana into 24 points.
Langford scored 13 points on 3-of-15 shooting to lead the Hoosiers (5-2). But No. 2 scorer Juwan Morgan, who averages 17.5 points, was in foul trouble all night and finished with eight. Indiana trailed by 24 points at halftime and never got closer than 19 in the second half.
Indiana: Langford and the Hoosiers couldn’t get anything going on offense. Indiana, one of the nation’s best shooting teams at 55 percent, shot a season-worst 39 percent. In the first half, the Hoosiers made just 11 of 33 attempts and turned it over 13 times while falling into a deep hole that few visitors to Cameron Indoor Stadium ever escape.
“I think we let the crowd get to us,” Morgan said. “In this type of atmosphere, you can’t stack bad plays. I think when you have a bad play, you have to stop right there, put a period on that sentence right there and keep moving forward.”
Duke: Williamson and Barrett — the nation’s only freshman teammates averaging at least 20 points apiece — took command again on offense. But what really made this a complete victory for the Blue Devils was how dominant their defense was, especially after the Gonzaga game. Duke forced a season high in turnovers, and held Indiana to a season low point total.
“Every team’s got one or two guys that are maybe a little better than the others,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “and we’ve got to make it harder on them.”
That highlight-reel play by Williamson came when Rob Phinisee threw a lazy pass to Fitzner — who immediately slouched his shoulders as Williamson jumped the pass, perhaps knowing a spectacular dunk was coming. That breakaway windmill sent Cameron into a tizzy and put Duke up 38-22.
Better days are ahead for Langford, even if his first — and likely only — visit to Cameron was one to forget. His 12 missed shots were the most of his brief college career, but it was one sequence at the other end of the floor that encapsulated his night. Barrett put up a shot over him. But instead of getting a body on the Duke freshman, he seemingly stepped aside while Barrett had an unimpeded path to the rebound, and he eventually stuck back his own miss to put the Blue Devils up 29-15.
This could have been even more lopsided had Duke not shot just 59 percent from the free-throw line. . Indiana has never beaten Duke in the challenge, falling to 0-5.
HE SAID IT
“I knew it was coming. Y’all seen him once before, I’ve seen it a thousand times. … Every single time, unbelievable.” — Reddish, on Williamson’s windmill dunk.
Indiana: Plays host to Northwestern in its Big Ten opener on Saturday.
Duke: Plays host to Stetson on Saturday night.