LAHAINA, Hawaii – In the last seconds of Gonzaga's victory over No. 1 Duke in Maui Invitational Championship, Blue Devils…
LAHAINA, Hawaii – In the last seconds of Gonzaga’s victory over No. 1 Duke in Maui Invitational Championship, Blue Devils freshman R.J. Barrett decided to put the game in his hands. As he ran into the middle of the floor and was looking for a shot, Bulldog’s junior Rui Hachimura, who recorded a playful 20 points and seven rebounds in Gonzaga’s thrilling 89-87 victory, logged in.
Then he blocked Barretts shot, a gambling game for a Gonzaga team who relied on his experience in the most intense game in the college basketball season so far.
“I think he hit me and he tried to play one-on-one against me, and I was,” OK, let’s do that, “said Hachimura after the match.” We are the best team in the country and I’m also the best player. I have to protect him. “
Gonzaga, who trained for just 1
2 seconds on Wednesday, gathered a 16-point lead in the second half before Duke made a huge round to make it a possession game in the last seconds. Gonzaga competed yet to end and win without standout Killian Tillie, sidelined with an injury injury.
When Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came to Maui for this week’s tournament, he had the most impressive collection of talent in America. Dozens of NBA bosses and scouts took six hours of flight from the mainland to see Zion Williamson, Barrett and Cam Reddish – maybe the top three pickups in next summer’s NBA draft – and the other prospects in the field.
A pair of top 10 wins including a 34-point Destruction of Kentucky in Champions Classic and a six-point victory over Auburn in Maui Invite semi-finals on Tuesday, established Blue Devils as America’s most dangerous team. Analysts picked Blue Devils over NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers in a hypothetical match-up. An unbeaten run, a let the Kentucky squad win their first 38 matches 2014-15, seemed achievable.
Although Krzyzewski had collected most talent in Maui, he was unable to introduce his young program with immediate experience. “I thought we saw young,” Krzyzewski said after the loss. “It was not that we were tired because we both played the same amount of games, but I think they were more ready to play than we were and that’s something you learned.”
Gonzaga joined almost 70 percent of his shot during most of the first half before he scored six of his first seven shots after break. But Bulldogs ended 8-to-27 rest of the road and missed seven of their 17 free kick attempts in the second half and opened the door for Duke’s run.
Even when their leadership disappeared and their shots (and free throws) ended falling in a wild atmosphere, the bulldogs did not panic. Instead, they relied on their defense. Per ESPN statistics and information, Williamson and Barrett were combined to shoot only 14 of 33 (42.4%) in the color Wednesday, a drop of 64.3 percent cut that they had produced in the color during the first five games.
Duke seemed dazed at the moment. The bulldogs seemed to eat it.
Josh Perkins, who has won 103 games with Bulldogs, finished with seven assists and two sales. Brandon Clarke, a transfer from San Jose State, caused worrying problems that hit his time on the floor, but 17 points and game defensive defenses (six blocks) helped Bulldogs seal the win and probably drive in No. 1 in the major polls next week.
“Experience played a big role in this,” said Zach Norvell Jr., who finished 18 points. “[Josh] Perkins, being one of the best guards in the country, he was huge for us. We got down the line and got a stop. We knew we won it on the defensive end. Things were a bit shaky along the line at the offensive end, but we locked into our plane and sat down and got a stop. “
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said he had a” nice little calm “, even as the duke tied the game late because he trusted his player. Krzyzewski said that it is the advantage to have an experienced roster.
“Gonzaga is a team you want to prepare for four days,” he said. “They are old and they play their butt and Hachimura is the guy you can go to get a bucket.”