It wasn’t the prettiest of games by any means but No. 4 Duke took home the 68-66 win in New York vs. No. 3 Kansas on Tuesday, kicking off the season in a big way. Neither team seemed to impress offensively but these two powerhouses battled it out in the Champions Classic.
So, with the game in the books, here are some of the takeaways for each team.
Turnovers an issue for both teams
The teams battled early back and forth but the story of the first half was the number of turnovers for each team. Whether it was nerves or just too much adrenaline issues, both teams had way too many turnovers in the game. Just in the first half, Kansas had 18 and Duke had 8. In the end, there were a total of 43 turnovers between the two teams (Kansas finished with 27, Duke finished with 16).
Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji the leaders for the Jayhawks
Even though Kansas has the size with Azuibuike, De Sousa, and McCormack, the Jayhawks look at their best when Dotson and Agbaji is in attack mode. Whether it is in transition or breaking down the defense, these two guards make Kansas incredibly dangerous when they play their game. Dotson is extremely fast and can get to the cup when he wants, as well as to the free-throw line. Agbaji is so long and can be a threat inside and out. When these two are clicking, it opens the floor up for everyone else.
Duke’s bench will be interesting to watch this year
There may be some movement this year with Duke, so we still don’t know who will be the for sure starters later on down the road. But from this game, the Blue Devils have Alex O’Connell, Jack White, Wendell Moore Jr., and Javin DeLaurier coming off the bench. O’Connell provides experience and outside shooting, something that will certainly benefit Duke in a big way if it continues. White will also provide that experience and looks to have a better year with his outside shot. Moore has the frame and gets downhill but it may take a little time to get comfortable on the floor (he could also be a candidate for becoming a starter). DeLaurier certainly brings energy and minutes down low. The bench can produce positive minutes, as they chipped in 18 points vs. Kansas in what was a low-scoring matchup.
White made some big plays late in the game and as the announcers said, he was the ultimate glue guy. O’Connell made some big shots early on as well.
Hurt/ Carey/ Jones may lead the way for Duke to start the season
These three combined for x points and that is despite Hurt going 4-for-12 and Carey not getting a ton of opportunities on the floor in this matchup (tough with all of Kansas’ size). Tre Jones will for sure be a leader on both ends, but Hurt shows polished moves and understanding of the game, and Carey’s size and versatility will be tough early on for opponents.
Is it more about Kansas’ struggle with turnovers or could this be a preview of how strong Duke’s defense is?
This is a question that we won’t be able to know until a few games down the road and that goes for both teams. 27 turnovers is the story of this game but was it just the Jayhawks being that sloppy or was it Duke’s defense? Maybe it was a little bit of both. But it will be really interesting, compared to last year (yes, I know it is a completely different team), how good this Duke team can be defensively…
Highly interested in what freshman Tristan Enaruna will provide this year for Jayhawks
Yes, he only scored five points but Enaruna is a 6’8 guard from the Netherlands that came off the bench and got some significant playing time vs. the Blue Devils. He is a very talented prospect and still is just developing his game and getting adjusted but he could be a big piece for the Jayhawks later on down the road as he earns more time on the court.