Duke Dominates Against St. Francis

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 05: Keith Braxton
DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 05: Keith Braxton /

Ahead of their first Atlantic Coast Conference game later this week, the Duke Blue Devils put on an absolute clinic against St. Francis in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke Basketball completely dominated in a 124-67 rout of St. Francis in their final non-conference tune-up before conference play. The Blue Devils excelled on offense and defense to jump to a large early lead against the Red Flash and never look back.

After playing lackadaisically after jumping out to a big lead early in their last contest against South Dakota, Duke controlled this matchup from start to finish. The Blue Devils raced out to a 39-9 run led by freshmen Marvin Bagley III and Gary Trent, Jr. The offense was firing on all cylinders with Duke scoring 71 first half points while holding SFU to 34. For the game, Duke was very efficient offensively shooting 60% from the field and 58% from three. The ball movement was also exceptional, with Duke breaking the program-record for assists in a game with 34.

This was the performance fans have been expecting against weaker competition, as the top-ranked Blue Devils head into ACC play. The most exciting thing is, according to Bagley after the game, Duke is “just getting started” and is still getting better. Here are a few more key observations from the game:

Next: Duke 96 South Dakota 80

– It’s encouraging to see Gary Trent, Jr. get involved and be more aggressive in the offense. At times earlier in the season he’s passed up shots or not looked to score. In this game Trent recorded 14 points going 5-8 from the field and 4-6 beyond the arc. The freshman guard will be extremely important going forward in conference play, especially as teams focus on Grayson Allen and keeping Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter out the paint.

– One of the main struggles for Duke early on was their bench production. Despite having a very deep team on paper, the reserves weren’t putting up great numbers in the opening games. Hopefully that will no longer be an issue going forward, after Marques Bolden’s dominant effort tonight. Bolden compiled a double-double with a season-high 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. He was strong in the paint and will be able to help anchor the second unit when Carter or Bagley sit.

– The Blue Devils were expected to rout St. Francis, and that was what they did. Duke did not play down to the competition or allow their opponent to climb back into the game at all. This shows maturity from the team and will be key going forward in conference play, which starts this Saturday. Duke has an early ACC matchup on the road at Boston College, a team they should beat handily on paper. We’ll see how things play out when the young team heads into a hostile road environment for their first conference matchup.