Lahaina, Hawaii – In the last seconds of the victory over Gonzaga number 1 Duke in the championship Maui Invitational, Blue Devils freshman R.J. Barrett decided to put the game in their hands. When he drove toward the middle of the floor and looked for a shot, Bulldogs junior Rui Hachimura, who recorded a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds in a thrilling 89-87 victory Gonzaga, she smiled at him.
Then he blocked the blow Barrett and emphasizing team play for Gonzaga, which was based on his experience in the most intense game of college basketball season so far.
"I think he switched to me, and he was trying to play one on one against me, and I was like," Okay, let's do it, "said Hachimura after the game," We are the best team in the country, and I'm the best player. too. I have to protect him. "
Gonzaga, who trailed for just 12 seconds, on Wednesday, amassed a 16-point each in the second half, before Duke made a great run to make it a one-possession game in the final seconds. However, Gonzaga competed until the end and won without standout Killian Tilly, who will miss because of an ankle injury.
If Duke coach Krzyzewski came to Maui for a tournament this week, he had the largest collection of talent in America. Dozens of NBA scouts and leaders took the six o'clock flight from the mainland to see Zion Williamson, the Barrett and Red Cam – perhaps the church in the first three NBA draft next summer – and other prospects in the area.
A pair of top-10 wins, including the destruction of the 34-point Kentucky Champions classics and six points in the victory over Auburn in Maui Invite semifinals on Tuesday, set the Blue Devils, as the most dangerous team America. Analysts chose the Blue Devils over the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA in a hypothetical match-up. Unbeaten detachment la Kentucky, who won their first 38 games in 2014-15, seemed attainable.
Although Krzyzewski has accumulated the greatest talent in Maui, however, he could not pour his young program with an instantaneous experience. "I thought we looked young," Krzyzewski said after the loss. "It's not something that we are tired because we both played the same number of games, but I think they were emotionally ready to play, we will, and that is what you will learn."
Gonzaga connected nearly 70 percent of their shots for most of the first half, before making six of the first seven shots after the break. But the Bulldogs finished 8-for-27 the rest of the way and missed seven of their 17 free throw attempts in the second half, opening the door for the launch of the Duke.
Even if their leadership has disappeared, and their arrows (and free throws) stopped falling in a wild atmosphere Bulldogs Sun panic. Instead, they relied on their defense. Per ESPN Stats and Information, Williamson and Barrett combined to shoot just 14-of-33 (42.4%) in the paint on Wednesday, falling from 64.3 percent clip they would be produced in the paint in the first five games.
The Duke seemed stunned moment. Bulldogs seemed to feed off it.
Josh Perkins, who won 103 games with the Bulldogs finished with seven assists and two turnovers. Brandon Clark, a transfer from San Jose, endured foul trouble that affected his time on the floor, but 17 points and a game-changing defensive n & # 39; play (six blocks) helped the Bulldogs seal the victory and will likely propel themselves in number 1 place in key elections next week.
"Experience plays a big role in this," said Zach Norvell Jr., who finished with 18 points. "[Josh] Perkins, with him was one of the best guards in the country to control the pace of play was very important for us. We came down the stretch and got a few stops. We knew that to win it for defensive purposes. Everything was seemingly shaky down the stretch on the offensive end, but we were locked in our plan and sat down, and got a few stops. "
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said he was a "darling" of mind even in the Duke tied the game late, because he trusted his players. Krzyzewski said it was the benefit of having an experienced roster.
"Gonzaga is a team you would like four days of training," he said. "They are old, and they play their examples and Hachimura guy, you can go to get a bucket."