Gaining another win in its second act proved a tougher challenge than its first for No. 4 Duke on Sunday.
The Blue Devils’ three freshman stars, led by Zion Wiliamson’s stellar all-around game, finally delivered success in the second half.
With Williamson, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett all topping 20 points for the second game in a row, the Blue Devils dispatched pesky Army 94-72 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Williamson scored 21 first-half points on the way to a 27-point game by making 11 of 14 shots. He added 16 rebounds and six blocked shots.
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Reddish scored 25 points, making 7 of 13 3-pointers, while Barrett added 23 for the Blue Devils.
Duke (2-0) opened the season last Tuesday with an emphatic 118-84 win over No. 2-ranked Kentucky. The going was far tougher against Army but the Blue Devils eventually pulled away to the win.
Duke led by eight points and halftime only to see Army score the first five points after halftime to trail 50-47.
The Blue Devils, though, used their hustle to gain an advantage and got hot from the field to open up an 11-point lead.
The Blue Devils secured three offensive rebounds off three missed field goals on a possession that ended with a Reddish 3-pointer that started their second-half scoring.
Wilson answered with a basket inside before Duke ran off the game’s next seven points. Reddish hit another 3-pointer and Barrett scored inside.
Marques Bolden’s quick-handed steal of an Army pass in the backcourt set up his pass to Barrett for a dunk that gave Duke a 60-49 lead with 16:28 to play.
With 13:01 left, Barrett drove through the lane to score through contact and draw a foul. His free throw gave Duke its largest lead to that point at 67-55.
Army, though, continued to hang tough.
Tommy Funk hit 3-pointers in each corner on consecutive possessions to leave Duke with a 67-61 lead.
But Duke came out of an official timeout with an 11-0 spurt while Army went scoreless for nearly three minutes.
Reddish scored in transition, followed by 3-pointers from Tre Jones and Barrett. With 9:26 to play, Reddish nailed a 3-pointer that gave Duke a 78-61 lead.
Williamson’s near-perfect half allowed Duke to take a 50-42 halftime lead over the Black Knights.
Williamson made his first nine shots from the field before missing a hurried 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. He scored 21 points with six rebounds and three assists over the game’s first 20 minutes.
Reddish scored 11 first half points but did so on a less-impressive 4 of 13 shooting from the field.
The Blue Devils looked to be on their way to having another game well in hand at halftime when they took a 36-25 lead when Williamson scored an easy lay-in off an in-bounds pass from Jones at the 8:41 mark.
But the Blue Devils turned the ball over on their next three possessions. The first two resulted from Williamson and Barrett dribbling into traffic and getting the ball stolen on consecutive possessions.
Army converted a 3-pointer by Tucker Blackwell and a Funk breakaway layup to trail 36-30.
Krzyzewski called a timeout but the Blue Devils lost the ball when Javin DeLaurier’s poor cross-court pass attempt zipped out of bounds.
Duke maintained a 44-37 lead when Williamson hit one of two free throws at 3:12 before Army scored the game’s next five points, taking advantage of Duke defensive lapses.
Funk beat Jones off the dribble to reach the lane before passing the ball out to an open Blackwell, who made a 3-pointer.
At the 2:31 mark, Aaron Duhart passed to a wide-open Ben Kinker in the lane for a dunk that cut Duke’s lead to 44-42.
But the Blue Devils held Army scoreless the rest of the half. Two Williamson baskets inside and a pair of Jones free throws gave Duke an eight-point halftime lead.