With wins over California and Miami already this season, Yale looks like a team that will be trouble for the Ivy League.
R.J. Barrett doesn’t play in that league, though, and the freshman’s presence in No. 3 Duke’s lineup led to a one-sided Blue Devils win on Saturday night.
Barrett poured in 30 points in a dominating performance, leading the Blue Devils to a 91-58 win over Yale at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The 6-7 Barrett made 9 of 19 shots, also contributing seven rebounds and a team-best six assists for Duke (9-1).
Fellow freshman Zion Williamson added 20 points with eight rebounds and four assists for the Blue Devils. Freshman forward Cameron Reddish scored 10 points for the Blue Devils.
Duke suffocated Yale with its stout defensive play. The Bulldogs shot 35 percent, making just 3 of 23 3-pointers, and turned the ball over 23 times. Duke recorded 16 steals, led by Reddish with four.
The Bulldogs (4-3) made noise last month by beating California, 76-59, and Miami, 77-73. Duke needed nearly eight minutes of play before taking its first lead but the Blue Devils were able to roll from there behind Barrett and their star freshmen.
Leading by nine points at halftime, Duke got Williamson heavily involved in its offense in the early minutes of the second half to build its lead to 16 points.
Duke scored on eight of its first nine possessions after halftime and Williamson factored directly into points on four of them.
Williamson split two free throws after taking an entry pass the first time Duke had the ball after half.
He hit two free throws at 17:52 to give Duke a 48-36 lead. His quick drive through the lane to softly lay the ball in at 16:26 gave the Blue Devils a 53-48 lead.
After Paul Atkinson hit a free throw for Yale, Williamson received the ball above the free throw line but spotted White open under the basket. His pass resulted in a White dunk that put the Blue Devils ahead 55-39 with 15:51 to play.
Barrett’s 3-pointer with 13:10 to play pushed Duke’s lead over 20 points for the first time at 66-45.
Despite struggling with its jump shooting over the first 20 minutes, Duke took a 41-32 halftime lead on the strength of its defense.
Yale turned the ball over 14 times in the first half while hitting just 39.3 percent of its shots.
The Bulldogs controlled the game in the early minutes as Duke didn’t take its first lead until Reddish’s drive and basket at 12:01 that broke a 17-all tie.
Yale led 22-21 when Blake Reynolds got free inside for a slam dunk with 8:06 to play in the half.
But Duke clamped down, refusing to allow Yale to hit a shot from the field for nearly five minutes. During that stretch, the Bulldogs turned the ball over five times with the Blue Devils forcing four of them with steals.
Alex O’Connell hit Duke’s first 3-pointer at the 7:56 mark, giving the Blue Devils a lead (24-22) and they never trailed again.
Duke extended its lead during a 9-0 run that started with three free throws, the last two by Jack White.
O’Connell stole a Yale pass and converted the turnover into a two-handed slam dunk.
After two Yale missed shots, Barrett hit a 3-pointer before a White steal started a fast break that ended with a Barrett layup off an O’Connell assist that put Duke up 35-23.
Barrett led Duke in first-half scoring with 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting. The Blue Devils shot 43.2 percent over the first 20 minutes while hitting only 2 of 9 3-pointers.