Only Shaq shares Duke basketball great’s latest statistical feat

Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball product Zion Williamson continues to amaze at an early age.

After dropping three straight games on the road, the New Orleans Pelicans (6-10) returned to their home floor on Wednesday and got back on track via a 124-106 win over the Washington Wizards (3-11). The victory marked the first time that former Duke basketball one-and-dones Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have each scored more than 30 points in the same game.

Both of the franchise’s 2021 All-Star candidates finished with 32 points.

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As for the third Blue Devil in New Orleans, 36-year-old veteran sniper JJ Redick totaled only five points as the 6-foot-3 guard continues to struggle with his outside shot. By knocking down only one of his four attempts from beyond the arc in this latest contest, the all-time Duke basketball scoring leader remains on pace for a career-low 3-point accuracy this season at 29.8 percent.

Williamson also added two points, two assists, two steals, and a block to his box score against the Wizards. The 6-foot-6 forward went 12-for-16 from the field, missing his lone 3-point attempt, and 8-for-11 from the foul line. Now, the NBA sophomore and former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 23.9 points to go along with 7.5 boards and shooting 59.0 percent for the season.

Ingram, meanwhile, chipped in six boards and eight dimes while going 12-for-19 overall, including 7-for-12 from deep. The fifth-year pro, a 6-foot-9 forward who reached his first All-Star Game last season in his first campaign in New Orleans, is averaging 23.9 points this season — the same as Williamson — as well as 5.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists; he’s shooting 40.0 percent from deep.

A Duke basketball legend in elite company

As Andrew Lopez of ESPN pointed out in a tweet, Zion Williamson’s sizzling performance marked the third time in his career that he has scored 30-plus while hitting 75-plus percent of his shots from the field. Evidently, the only other guy in history who can say he pulled off that same feat before being old enough to drink is Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.

No one has ever done this four times before turning 21. But the 20-year-old Williamson still has until his birthday on July 6 to become the first.

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