BOZICH | Indiana no match for Duke -- again
By Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — ESPN keeps lining up Indiana as Duke’s opponent in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and the Hoosiers keep serving as the Washington Generals to the Blue Devils’ Harlem Globetrotters.
This time it was Duke 90, Indiana 69 — and this ball game was ovah before the Cameron Crazies could deliver their first unprintable word.
11-4. 26-12. 36-19.
You get the picture. No contest.
Zion Williamson just dunked again -- and they're replaying it for the fourth time on SportsCenter.
It wasn't as one-sided as Duke's 34-point win over Kentucky, but it was in the same Zip Code. At one point midway through the second half, five Indiana players had more turnovers than field goals.
The Hoosiers have played the Blue Devils three times in this event in the last four seasons, and they have suffered three Excedrin moments, getting beat by 20, 10 and 21.
Put down your calculator. You don't need a degree from Duke to know that's an average of 17 points.
Next season make it Wake Forest or Boston College for the Hoosiers, who are 5-2.
The Blue Devils three elite freshmen -- Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish -- combined for 60 points and 17 rebounds. Better not forget point guard Tre Jones, another freshman. He had 15 points and eight assists.
Indiana's elite freshman -- New Albany product Romeo Langford -- had the most difficult game of his college career, missing 12 of 15 shots, including all four from distance, even though he led the Hoosiers with 13 points.
Duke unloaded on Archie Miller’s team as if the Blue Devils thought they were getting payback for their Maui Invitational loss to Gonzaga last Wednesday, scoring 15 points in less than five minutes to open the game.
After five minutes the only question was this: Which total would be higher — Indiana’s turnovers or Duke’s dunks?
Indiana turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, and in case anybody thought that was a fluke, the Hoosiers did it four more times in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half, the first miscue negating a three-point field goal by Langford.
By game's end Indiana had 20 turnovers -- and Duke had 24 points off turnovers, which led to many of the Blue Devils' seven dunks.
You can’t win at Cameron Indoor Stadium playing soft or timid with the basketball. Indiana was soft and timid and careless with the basketball, turning it over 13 times in the first half, often the result of careless passes.
Archie Miller tried sophomore Justin Smith on Duke freshman Zion Williamson. He also turned to Juwan Morgan. Others took their shot. I’m not sure Calbert Cheaney, Scott May or Walt Bellamy (in their primes) were up for the assignment.
Against Indiana, Williamson looked like LeBron James, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, powering to the rim for easy baskets whenever Williamson thought the ESPN replay cameras were in position to showcase his skills.
Let’s remember one thing: Duke can do this to teams. Ask Kentucky, which got the same bottom of the sneaker treatment during the Wildcats’ season opener in Indianapolis, a 118-84 defeat. Gonzaga beat Duke in Hawaii, but Mike Krzyzewski is coaching the most talented college team in America, a squad that likely features three of the first four selections in the 2019 NBA Draft.
But Indiana gave Indiana as many problems as Duke gave Indiana.
Sloppy ball-handling. Errant passes. Fumbled dribbles. Timid play. The works. It didn't matter who Archie Miller tried. Eight IU players turned the ball over at least once, lead by Justin Smith's five and four by Robert Phinisee.
You have to play with confidence, precision and an edge to compete with Duke — and the Hoosiers were 0-for-3 in those categories.
Big Ten play awaits the Hoosiers. They open Saturday at home against Northwestern before traveling to Penn State Dec. 4. Louisville visits Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall Dec. 8.
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