Though there was plenty happening away from the sports world on Tuesday evening, the college basketball season began from coast-to-cast and the centerpiece of the opening slate was a double-header in Indianapolis. The nightcap was a head-to-head battle between the nation’s top two programs in Duke and Kentucky, with expectations sky-high for a contest featuring multiple projected lottery picks and what seemed to be a relatively even battle from a competitive perspective.
After 40 minutes of basketball, however, there wasn’t much in the way of competition, as Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and the Blue Devils absolutely throttled the Wildcats in front of a national audience. When the dust settled, Duke secured a 118-84 victory and, considering Kentucky actually began the night as a small betting favorite, the level of dominance was rather stunning.
From the opening tip, it was a full-blown wave from Duke, as Mike Krzyzewski’s team came out of the gate flying. Duke used an 18-2 run to take a 29-10 lead and, in retrospect, the game was basically over at that point. The Blue Devils led by as many as 21 in the first half, scored 50 (!) points in the first 16 minutes, and utterly dominated on the strength of a trio of lottery picks.
Williamson, Barrett and Reddish combined for 45 points in the first half, outscoring Kentucky’s entire squad by three, and it was a 20-minute window filled with highlight plays. First, Barrett and Williamson scored their first college baskets in memorable fashion, with the Canadian wing getting to the rim and the social media star stepping out and making his mark on the perimeter.