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Veteran transfer will be x-factor in a Kentucky cover versus Duke

Veteran transfer will be x-factor in a Kentucky cover versus Duke”

RJ Barrett scored 33 points and Zion Williamson added 28 in their first college games, leading No. 4 Duke over No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 on Tuesday night in the season-opening Champions Classic.

1 Kentucky announced to the world their cruel intentions. "I'm really proud of my freshmen". By the second TV timeout, it was clear that these two teams were in totally different weight classes, and by the time the final buzzer sounded, John Calipari walked off the floor having been tagged with the worst loss of his career.

The teams set a Classic record for most combined points, set hours earlier in No. 1 Kansas' 92-87 victory over No. 10 Michigan State.

Duke's newcomers never doubted they could win this convincingly. "We know what we have".

We could see that coming then.

Keldon Johnson scored 23 points to lead Kentucky.

Duke led by 10 after six minutes and extended the lead to 34-13 less than 10 minutes into the game.

But Duke closed the half getting easy baskets from Barrett, off a pass from Jones, and Bolden, off a pass from Barrett, to lead 59-42 at intermission.

Starting four freshmen, Duke shot 54 percent while making 12 3-pointers. Kentucky shaved the deficit to 12 on one occasion and 13 on another but could get no closer.

Every single game that the Blue Devils play this season, they are going to have the two-best players on the floor, if not the three-best. "I haven't lost faith in my guys".

Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson carried the Kansas backcourt. "If they play like that, they're not losing many, if that's who they are".

Reddish finished with the quietest 22 points in the history of college basketball, a night that would have been considered an explosion for the third-best player on this Duke team.

Lawson made a case, too, finishing with 14 rebounds and six assists after sitting out last season following his transfer from Memphis. While team basketball won the game, the individual efforts stole the show.

They just struggled to deliver the knockout punch. "We have a big target on us", Barrett said.

But in a game pitting two of the Power Five conference preseason favorites, the Spartans made the finish as intriguing as expected. Surprising some - not anyone here at Ball Durham - by proving to be one of the key pieces to the lethal attack, the junior forward came off the bench but played 30 minutes as a result of his providing the spark to several fast breaks with one hustle play after another.

"I learned something about my team tonight, " Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "I told [my team], 'I got outcoached, you guys got outplayed".



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