SEC Opening Night Roundup: Duke blows out Kentucky

By: The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) goes up for a dunk in front of Kentucky guard Tyler Herro during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) goes up for a dunk in front of Kentucky guard Tyler Herro during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Zion Williamson and fourth-ranked Duke were well on their way to a blowout victory when the high-flying freshman blocked a shot to start yet another Blue Devil fastbreak.

Williamson dribbled up the left side, whipped a pass through traffic to classmate RJ Barrett, then met him under the basket with a hearty chest bump after Barrett fought off a foul to finish his layup.

Duke's fabulous freshman weren't just ready for their first turn in the spotlight.

"They were magnificent," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Barrett scored 33 points and Williamson added 28 as both players broke the school record by points in a freshman debut, and the Blue Devils romped over No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 on Tuesday night in the season-opening Champions Classic.

"To play this well on this stage, right away against Kentucky is surprising," Krzyzewski said after picking up victory No. 1,101 for his career. "I'm really proud of my freshmen."

They were almost flawless.

Barrett was 13 of 26 from the field with six assists and four rebounds, and Williamson went 11 of 13 from the field with seven rebounds.

Duke won for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings between two of the nation's four winningest programs, and this time handed coach John Calipari his first opening-night loss at Kentucky and his most lopsided loss since taking the job a decade ago.

The teams set a Classic record for most combined points, set hours earlier in No. 1 Kansas' 92-87 victory over No. 10 Michigan State.

Duke's newcomers never doubted they could win this convincingly.

"We weren't surprised we were winning by so much," Barrett said. "We know what we have. We see it every day."

Keldon Johnson scored 23 points to lead Kentucky and graduate transfer Reid Travis added 22 for the Wildcats.

But the freshmen made sure this highly-anticipated game was never close.

Duke led by 10 after six minutes and extended the lead to 34-13 less than 10 minutes into the game.

After making it 59-42 at halftime, Duke kept pulling away throughout the second half. 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.

Kentucky never got closer than 27 the rest of the game.

"If that is who they are, they aren't going to lose many games," Calipari said. "I haven't lost faith in my guys. We've still got a good group."

NO. 6 TENNESSEE 86, LENOIR-RHYNE 41

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jordan Bone scored 18 points, Kyle Alexander added 16 and No. 6 Tennessee opened the season with a blowout over Lenoir-Rhyne.

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes lettered for three seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne. Barnes is a native of Hickory, North Carolina, where Lenoir-Rhyne is located.

The game against the Division II opponent counts on Tennessee's overall record, but Lenoir-Rhyne counted the game as an exhibition.

In front of a crowd of 16,156, the Volunteers opened a season of heightened expectations. The defending Southeastern Conference co-champions return all five starters, and their No. 6 ranking is the highest ever in the preseason poll.

Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield filled up the stat sheet for the Vols. Williams had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Schofield had 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

NO. 11 AUBURN 101, SOUTH ALABAMA 58

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Jared Harper had 20 points, 13 assists and six 3-pointers to lead No. 11 Auburn over South Alabama.

Sporting their highest preseason ranking since 1999, the Tigers raced to a big early lead and kept adding to it. They had six players score in double figures and made 18 3-pointers.

Chuma Okeke scored 20 points and had nine rebounds and five assists. Malik Dunbar had 16 points, all in the second half.

VCU transfer Samir Doughty had 14 points in his Auburn debut after sitting out last season. Bryce Brown scored 12 and Anfernee McLemore 11.

Rodrick Sikes led South Alabama with 25 points and made five 3-pointers.

NO. 17 FLORIDA STATE 81, FLORIDA 60

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — P.J. Savoy scored 20 points with five 3-pointers, Trent Forrest added 13 points and No. 17 Florida State opened the season with a victory over Florida.

Terance Mann had nine points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Seminoles, who shot 11 of 20 from 3-point range and beat Florida for a fifth straight time. They led 31-20 at the half and never looked back, using an aggressive defense to stifle the Gators.

Florida State nearly secured the most lopsided victory in a rivalry that dates to 1951. The largest prior rout for the Seminoles was an 88-63 win in December 1969.

Deaundrae Ballard scored 13 points off the bench and heralded freshman Andrew Nembhard had 12 points for Florida, which shot just 19 of 53 from the floor. The Gators went 6 of 24 on 3-point attempts.

NO. 23 LSU 94, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 63

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Naz Reid had 17 points to lead six players in double figures and No. 23 LSU opened its season with a victory against Southeastern Louisiana.

The Tigers' four freshmen all scored at least 10 points. Emmitt Williams had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Darius Days had 11 points, and Ja'vonte Smart added 10. The other two double-figure scorers for LSU were Marlon Taylor with 15 points and Skylar Mays with 11.

Freshman Parker Edwards, who played only 10 minutes, scored 25 points in the second half for the Lions, hitting 6 of 8 from 3-point range. Moses Greenwood had 12 points for Southeastern Louisiana before fouling out.

LSU took control of the game in the opening five minutes. Southeastern Louisiana did not score until Greenwood made a field goal with 15:35 remaining in the first half. By that time, the Tigers had opened a 10-0 lead.

OTHER SEC SCORES

South Carolina 65, South Carolina Upstate 52

Alabama 82, Southern 62

Missouri 68, Central Arkansas 55

Vanderbilt 92, Winthrop 79

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