Duke crushes Canada after Kentucky blasts through Bahamas on road to showdown
Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier dunks during Sundayâs college basketball exhibition game with McGill at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Duke plays Kentucky in the season opener on Nov. 6 in Indianapolis. Reagan Lunn Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier dunks during Sundayâs college basketball exhibition game with McGill at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Duke plays Kentucky in the season opener on Nov. 6 in Indianapolis. Reagan Lunn
August 20, 2018 09:22 AM
One week after Kentucky menâs college basketball impressively swept through a four-game exhibition series in the Bahamas, Duke nearly duplicated that feat by completing an impressive three-game sweep of an exhibition series in Canada.
In case you havenât heard, the two expected national title contenders face off Nov. 6 in a Champions Classic showdown in Indianapolis.
The Blue Devils slaughtered McGill 103-58 on Sunday to wrap up their pleasure trip north of the border. Mike Krzyzewskiâs team won its three games by an average margin of 33.3 points.
The star of the show was R.J. Barrett, the Canada native who celebrated his homecoming by averaging 30.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and five assists over the three games. The 6-foot-7 guard was the No. 1 prospect for the Class of the 2018 by most scouting services.
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âHeâs great in all aspects,â Coach K told reporters in Canada on Sunday. âWhen we recruit a kid, we look for talent, a good student and character. Heâs off the charts in all three.â
Barrett was 12-for-30 from the floor, including two of eight from three-point range, for 34 points in Dukeâs 86-67 win over Ryerson in the opener. He was 15 of 26 from the floor, including three of eight from three, on the way to 35 points in Dukeâs 96-60 romp over Toronto on Friday.
In Sundayâs finale, Barrett was eight of 16 from the floor, one of five from three, and six of 11 from the foul line for 23 points.
Then thereâs Zion Williamson, the 6-6, 285-pound human highlight reel. Williamson wrapped up the trip with a 36-point, 13-rebound effort in the Blue Devilsâ blowout win on Sunday. He averaged 29.7 points and 11.3 rebounds on the trip.
Williamson had 29 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Ryerson. He made 12 of 16 shots and scored 24 points in the win over Toronto.
âZion and R.J. are a cut above anyone whoâs on the court,â Krzyzewski said.
A pair of Dukeâs highly-touted freshmen did not participate because of injury. Tre Jones sat out with a hip injury. Cameron Reddish missed the games with a groin injury. And sophomore Alex OâConnell suffered a broken eye socket in the first game of the trip.
And a sour note was junior center Marques Bolden, who took just three shots the entire trip and missed all three. A starter the first two games, Bolden began Sundayâs game on the bench.
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âI think I saw what you saw,â Coach K said of Bolden, âand I have to see more.â
Of course, Kentucky fans saw plenty to like during the Big Blue Bahamas tour. John Calipariâs club showed both talent and cohesion as it rolled through its four games on Paradise Island. âIâm happy,â said Calipari after the trip, âbut Iâm not intoxicated.â
John Calipari tried to bring perspective to UKâs dominating play in the Bahamas. (Photo by Chet White of UK Athletics)
So whatâs next for the two teams? Duke plays Virginia Union in an exhibition game on Oct. 23, then faces Ferris State in an exhibition game on Oct. 27. UK plays Transylvania on Oct. 26 in an exhibition in Rupp Arena, followed by a Nov. 2 e xhibition against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the fan blogs are busy getting their shots in before the marquee Nov. 6 opener. Duke Basketball Report took issue with a Kentucky Sports Radio post about the Blue Devilsâ trip. (DBR called KSR the Kentucky Sports Report, by the way.)
âKentucky fans are already gearing up for the Duke game that opens the season and honestly theyâll probably be favored,â writes JD King for DBR. âFor what itâs worth, you donât play for the beginning of the season of course, you play for the end.
âWell, unless youâre Kentucky because we all know, the most important thing for Kentucky, as John Calipari has said, is draft night.â
Rivalsâ recruiting rankings Class of 2018
|11||E.J. Montgomer y||6-10||Kentucky|