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Matthew Damage scored 18 factors whereas the freshman trio mixed for 40 factors in Duke’s win over Notre Dame. (Picture : Streeter Lecka/Getty Photos)
No Jalen Johnson, no drawback.
After a gradual 2-2 begin of the season and with prime 2020 recruit freshman Jalen Johnson sidelined attributable to harm, the Duke Blue Devils is in a dire want of one other participant to hold the staff.
Sophomore ahead Matthew Damage scored a team-high 18 factors, as freshman troika of DJ Steward, Jaemyn Brakefield and Jeremy Roch recorded a mixed 40 factors on 15-of-25 capturing to elevate Duke Blue Devils over Notre Dame Combating Irish, 75-65 on the ACC opener.
In line with 247 Sports activities, Matthew Damage ranked No. 12 within the 2019 class. He was the highest-rated recruit who returned to Duke for the succeeding season in additional than 10 years. He was rated at .9957 however he knew, he had nonetheless extra issues to perform earlier than changing into NBA-ready within the subsequent years.
DJ Steward, one of many three freshmen who shone of their current sport, mentioned that he did solely what’s finest for the staff.
“Simply exhibiting poise. Simply letting the sport come to us. We’re freshmen so we go on the market,” Steward mentioned.
The 6-foot-3 Steward held a stoplight for the Combating Irish after orchestrating a 16-point and seven-rebound efficiency. First-year level guard Jeremy Roach added 14 factors whereas freshman energy ahead Jaemyn Brakefield chipped in 10 markers for the Duke.
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Nobody was anticipating the freshmen to be the celebrities of the match after popping out from the sport with double-digit scores. Nonetheless, they turned extra revered and acknowledged following a merged 60 p.c discipline objective proportion.
In participant effectivity, Jeremy Roach bannered his 5-out-of-6 capturing from the sphere. DJ Steward dropped six out of 11 baskets. Jaemyn Brakefield sunk 4-of-8.
The freshmen additionally rose to the court docket by contributing a handful of steals led by Steward with two. Roach and Brakefield had one apiece.
The defensive presence of Duke was boosted by the freshmen. Whereas Jordan Goldwire and Mark Williams guarded the perimeter and the paint, Duke regarded ahead to changing into a defensive risk for the following battles.
“All three of them carry their very own totally different ability set, and so they have improved since day one, even after Illinois. Seeing them develop, seeing them getting higher on the court docket whether or not it is a movie, whether or not it is working with the coaches-it’s only a actually nice sight to see,” Matthew Damage mentioned.
Within the second half, the Combating Irish contested an in depth struggle with a 34-31 end which was not sufficient on their half.
Jaemyn Brakefield flashed his potential within the paint, and the Blue Devils questioned if he may fill Jalen Johnson’s sneakers within the meantime.
Jeremy Roach took the Duke on a stroll after he sank two three-pointers and layups. He was an unstoppable scorer, and the Combating Irish couldn’t gradual him down on the very least.
Chicago-raised DJ Steward assured that he will likely be remembered after the sport. The 19-year-old combo guard channeled his internal ‘James Harden’ after placing one Irish defender on skates together with his stepback trey. He knocked down three treys on his 4 makes an attempt.
His essential and-one layup put the Duke in entrance of Notre Dame in the course of the transition offense.
“This can be a massive win for [the team]. We’re not any form of juggernaut. We is usually a good staff, however so as to be an excellent staff, it’ll take some seasoning, as a result of it isn’t just like the groups we have had over the past variety of years,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned.
If Duke desires to win extra video games after their vacation hiatus, the staff ought to take probabilities of their small line-up to take advantage of their opponents’ vitality and pressure them into turnovers.
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