DURHAM, N.C. — Seems, even Zion Williamson could have an off night time.
For all of the not likely twists for Duke in a flat first part in opposition to Hartford, not anything presented fairly as large a wonder as Williamson lacking two dunks. The Duke freshman has stolen headlines and stuffed up spotlight reels during the Blue Devils’ first 8 video games of the season with one monster dunk after any other, however Wednesday used to be … a little bit off.
“I have no idea what used to be happening with me,” mentioned Williamson, who used to be Eight-of-14 from the ground with 18 issues within the 84-54 win. “I have by no means neglected dunks like that, no longer even messing round. It will get very irritating. However I will be able to’t play for myself.”
Amid a lackluster first part when few Duke pictures fell and transition buckets have been at a top class, Williamson’s first pass over — hauling in a move from Alex O’Connell, then banging the ball off the entrance of the rim — generated a identical astonishment from the gang that lots of his eye-popping makes have performed. They have been merely no longer used to seeing such issues.
Reality is, Williamson wasn’t used to it, both, and the disappointment went way past the dunks all through the primary part.
Duke mustered simply 33 issues in opposition to Hartford earlier than the damage, a season low. From past the arc, the Blue Devils shot simply 19 % (Five-of-26) for the sport. And within the early going, a stagnant defensive effort intended few transition alternatives.
“Most often we shoot a greater proportion, and our protection by no means gave our offense power,” trainer Mike Krzyzewski mentioned. “In transition, we are dynamite. Each every so often in part court docket, you’ll pass over pictures. However in transition, we are going to ranking.”
That tide grew to become within the ultimate 15 mins of motion, as Duke pulled away and RJ Barrett and Williamson hit their stride. Duke shot 62 % in the second one part, had 29 fast-break issues and, after all, Williamson completed with some aptitude.
With Eight:36 left to play, Williamson stole a move clear of George Blagojevic, dribbled the period of the court docket and completed with a monster slam, striking at the rim for just right measure. This used to be a little bit extra like what the gang — and the remainder of the Duke roster — used to be anticipating.
“A man like Zion, you already know he is going so that you could come again the following play and make a large play,” level guard Tre Jones mentioned. “So I wasn’t apprehensive about him.”