The Wildcats' graduate transfer forward had the same look of shock and awe that nearly everyone in attendance Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse wore on their faces in the aftermath of No. 4 Duke's 118-84 rout of No. 2 Kentucky in the highly anticipated season opener for both teams.
Kentucky: "It's tough when you go down like that", Travis said. And all Duke did was hand John Calipari the most lopsided loss of his 10-year tenure in Lexington.
"They're a very good team", Calipari said. He was one of just five Division I players who had at least seven assists with no TOs on opening night, and the only freshman of those five.
The spasm the rest of the basketball world and I are having right now is an emotional reaction to some sports gore none of us saw coming. Either they're a great handling team or we're not doing enough defensively.
It was just one game, but it's going to take a minute to process. "I told [my team], 'I got outcoached, you guys got outplayed".
Freshman RJ Barrett led the Blue Devils with 33 points on 13-26 shooting, while freshman Zion Williamson was incredibly efficient from the floor, scoring 28 on 11-13 shooting. They combined for 83 points on the night, nearly outscoring the Wildcats' entire roster. The small forward poured in 22 points, showing off a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, where he was 3-of-8, as well as from the charity stripe, where he was a ideal 7-of-7. "I'm really proud of my guys", Coach K said.
That team went 38-0, and if it wasn't for an absolutely loaded Wisconsin team picking them off in the Final Four, they would have played for a national title with an undefeated, 40-0 season on the line. "And they responded. They were magnificent".More news: States Legalize Marijuana For Recreational Or Medical Use
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The Stanford graduate transfer made little impact in the opening 20 minutes as the Blue Devils pulled away.
After making it 59-42 at halftime, Duke kept pulling away throughout the second half. There was never a moment where it looked like Kentucky belonged on the same floor as Duke.
Keldon Johnson led the Wildcats with 23 points while Reid Travis added 22 points. The 6-foot-8 forward ended the night with a career-high nine points and showed up as a deep threat in addition to a finisher at the rim. It was as bad a night as United Kingdom has ever experienced in a high-profile game. They finished with only nine points between them on 3-for-12 shooting from the field, and Washington fouled out midway through the second half. It will be interesting to see how United Kingdom bounces back from this one.
Although the Blue Devils' early lead quickly silenced Big Blue Nation, Duke will need a vocal leader on the court to keep everyone's heads in check for ACC road games.
And the feeling I have seeing this Duke team turn Kentucky into early season mid-major fodder is no different then the feeling I had after watching that Kentucky team turn that Kansas team into a group of middle schoolers running offense for the first time: How in the hell is anyone going to beat Duke?
4-4 - The Cats' record in the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils only committed four turnovers compared with Kentucky's 15.
59 - Points in a half tied for the most United Kingdom has surrendered under Calipari in a half (Texas A&M, 2018). Surprising some - not anyone here at Ball Durham - by proving to be one of the key pieces to the lethal attack, the junior forward came off the bench but played 30 minutes as a result of his providing the spark to several fast breaks with one hustle play after another.