Mike Krzyzewski made it clear to his players early that Duke was going to have to turn back the clock in order to be successful following the departures of Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett to the NBA. The fourth-ranked Blue Devils did exactly that in their opener against one of the best teams in the country and will attempt to continue making life difficult for opponents Friday when they host Colorado State.
"Coach told us first day, 'Big brother's not here. RJ and Zion are not here. We've gotta be an old-fashioned Duke team.' ... We might be ugly, but we're gonna get the W. We're going to be very, very, very aggressive," Duke freshman Cassius Stanley said following Tuesday's 68-66 victory in the Champions Classic over No. 3 Kansas at Madison Square Garden. Preseason All-ACC first-team selection Tre Jones reinforced his reputation as a defensive stalwart, coming up with two of his team's 11 steals in a defensive effort that forced the Jayhawks into 28 turnovers. "The difference maker was Tre. ... We really tried to play good defense in our first 30 practices. We played really good defense (tonight). It starts with that kid," Krzyzewski said. The Rams took their first step toward erasing the memory of the last two seasons (12-20 in 2018-19, 11-21 in 2017-18) with Tuesday's 74-63 home win over Denver.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network
ABOUT COLORADO STATE (1-0): Senior guard Kris Martin (9.2 points in 2018-19) did a bit of everything against the Pioneers, finishing with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in 35 minutes of action. Nico Carvacho (team-high marks of 16.1 points and a Division I-best 12.9 rebounds last season), who ranked second in the country with 22 double-doubles as a junior, tallied 10 points and 11 boards Tuesday to become the all-time leading rebounder in Mountain West history with 961. Sophomore forward Adam Thistlewood (8.6 points, 2.9 boards) admitted he "took notes" on what Carvacho did during his all-conference campaign and backed it up with a strong 15-point, nine-rebound performance in the opener.
ABOUT DUKE (1-0): While Jones added 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds over 39 minutes in the opener, Stanley served as a solid complement despite committing four turnovers, with 13 points - including 11 in the second half - on 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from the foul line. The Blue Devils' other two highly touted freshman also played well in their debuts, as 6-10 center Vernon Carey Jr. totaled 11 points and six boards in 25 minutes and 6-9 sharpshooter Matthew Hurt poured in 11 points on 3-of-7 beyond the arc. The Blue Devils did not play well offensively as a whole, however, committing 16 turnovers, shooting 35.9 percent from the field and converting only 60.9 percent of their free throws.
1. Duke is 18-1 when Jones scores at least 10 points.
2. Carvacho extended his own school record with his 36th career double-double Tuesday and needs eight more to tie former Nevada standout Jordan Caroline for the most in Mountain West history.
3. The Blue Devils have won 147 consecutive non-conference home games.
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