Duke destroyed Clemson as the Blue Devils appear to have found themselves.
The early season has beenrough for Duke basketball, which wasn’t even on the bubble entering the week. A victory over Georgia Tech on Tuesday helped stopped the bleeding but the Blue Devils still needed to make a statement to show that they are truly back.
That statement was made today when the Blue Devils demolished Clemson 79-53 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The performance was incredibly impressive as the Tigers have been ranked as high as no. 12 this year.
Duke basketball is coming alive thanks to the play of Mark Williams
The key to the victory was Duke’s defense, which has been on point in the past two games. Clemson shot just 35.1 percent from the floor and 23.8 percent from the perimeter, a dominant defensive effort that can be the key to unlocking the massive upside that the Blue Devils’ roster has.
Part of that decision comes from the bigger role that freshman forward Mark Williams has taken on in the past few games. Williams played 14 minutes today and was extremely efficient, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting while grabbing five rebounds for good measure.
Talent has never been in question for the Blue Devils, who have a loaded freshmen class with the likes of Williams, Jalen Johnson, D.J. Steward and Jeremy Roach. The condensed offseason, Mike Krzyzewski’s decision to play only four non-conference games and a key injury to Johnson prevented Duke from getting enough reps together to unlock their massive potential.
There had been flashes of brilliance all year long, such as the dominant five-minute stretch that the Blue Devils put together against Michigan State to kick off the Champions Classic back in December. The problem was that Duke had been unable to sustain that focus and intensity for more than stretches of a game, particularly on the defensive end of the floor, but that wasn’t the case today.
The Blue Devils take on Miami on Monday before their big rivalry game against North Carolina at home on Saturday. If today’s effort becomes more commonplace going forward there’s no question that Duke has plenty of runway left to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.
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