Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Veteran transfer will be x-factor in a Kentucky cover versus Duke

Veteran transfer will be x-factor in a Kentucky cover versus Duke

Another freshman, point guard Tre Jones, chipped in with six points, seven assists and no turnovers in 30:42 on the floor.

The Cats were led by freshman wing Keldon Johnson with 23 points and Travis with 22.

The season-opening game between two of the nation's top five ranked teams set up to be a Final Four preview.

The Blue Devils didn't stop with that flurry. Barrett's dunk with 16:11 remaining made it 72-47, Alex O'Connell's 3-pointer with 11:45 remaining made it 91-54 and Duke topped the 100-point mark on another dunk by Barrett with 7:36 left.

Facing a Kentucky squad with twin towers in Reid Travis and E.J. Montgomery, the Blue Devils needed all the help they could get grabbing boards and controlling possession, and White delivered.

Barrett led the way with 33 points on 13-of-26 shooting from the field and knocked down three of the Blue Devils' 12 3-pointers.

And in just 23 minutes, Zion Williamson - who had to sit out much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls - finished with 28 points on a shooting performance that was almost ideal. Most teams don't have that kind of combination, but it's clear Kentucky needs to improve dramatically to keep up with the nation's top teams.

Duke: The Blue Devils seem to have it all - athletes, scorers, defenders and rebounders.

"They were magnificent", coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Kentucky: Tyler Herro was the only other player to reach double figures. He also added six assists and four rebounds. They shot 53.8 percent from the field, knocked down 12 3-pointers and ran away from Kentucky in the first half. They combined for 83 points on the night, nearly outscoring the Wildcats' entire roster. The game marked the first time Kentucky faced a ranked opponent in a season opener since a 79-71 overtime loss to Clemson in 1995. The No. 4 Blue Devils opened as one-point underdogs against the Wildcats per William Hill, and are now sitting as 1.5-point underdogs.

That overall display - in a game that the Blue Devils entered as a slight underdog - is sure to be the primary topic amongst college basketball fans at water coolers in offices across the country for days to come.

Kentucky hosts Southern Illinois in the Wildcats' regular-season home opener Friday night at 6 p.m.

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