Barrett reminded everyone why he was a higher-ranked recruit than his superstar teammates at the Maui Invitational semifinals Tuesday, putting on a clinic in Duke's 78-72 win against the No. 8 Auburn Tigers.
Then, he blocked Barrett's shot, a punctuating play for a Gonzaga team that relied on its experience in the most intense game of the college basketball season thus far.
The Blue Devils fell behind by 16 in the second half before firing up the Blue Devil express with a series of head-above-the-rim dunks and drives. "Mark's kids were a Final Four team", Duke coach Mike Krzyzeweski said after the game. We guarded much, much better in the second half, played without fouling, and took much, much better care of the ball and pushed it.
Barrett had 23 points for Duke while Williamson had 22 points and 10 rebounds.
"A lot of credit goes to our coaching staff keeping our head in it, but in the huddle we stayed positive and we stuck together", said Zags senior guard Josh Perkins, "Adversity hit, but at times like that, we stuck together and that's what came out the win tonight".
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Hachimura put Gonzaga up 89-87 with a strong move at the basket with 75 seconds left, but the Zags kept giving Duke chances by missing four free throws.
But could they really beat a diminished Cavs team?
In the final minute of the game, R.J.
Duke and its future lottery picks steamrolled San Diego State and outlasted No. 8 Auburn to reach its sixth Maui title game in six years. Even still, in this tournament format of the Maui Invitational, perhaps that's what it'll take to topple the Blue Devils early in the season. The Spartanburg, S.C., native scored the first four points for the Blue Devils and picked up a pair of offensive boards in the first five minutes. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Williamson and Barrett combined to shoot just 14-of-33 (42.4 percent) in the paint Wednesday, a drop from the 64.3 percent clip they'd produced in the paint during the first five games. "I mean we were not playing good defence, but they were playing great offence".
The Zags swatted Duke's bid away.