Duke basketball: 3 most intriguing takeaways from first victory

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Did the Duke basketball season opener provide a recipe for lasting success?

On Tuesday night, Duke basketball started the 2021-22 season off right with a hard-fought 79-71 win over the preseason No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats at the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden. The No. 9 Duke Blue Devils held the lead for most of the game but could never really pull away.

It was a high-energy and high-intensity game with both teams playing extremely hard. The game had a March Madness type of feel, given the electric atmosphere and both teams unwilling to back down. The game even got chippy at a few points, with both squads talking trash to each other.

ALSO READ: Blue Devils defeat two opponents in Madison Square Garden

Ultimately, the Blue Devils out-executed the Wildcats down the stretch, behind key plays from freshman guard Trevor Keels. Freshman forward Paolo Banchero certainly didn’t disappoint either, adding in 22 points.

Here now are three of the most intriguing takeaways from Duke’s first victory of the season.