Zion Williamson breaks down win over N.C. State
The only thing that slowed Zion Williamson Saturday night were the four fouls he committed.
Despite spending six minutes on the bench in foul trouble in the second half, the Duke freshman scored 32 points as the No. 2 Blue Devils beat N.C State 94-78 in ACC basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Fellow freshman RJ Barrett recorded a triple-double, scoring 23 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Duke (23-2, 11-1 ACC).
Williamson scored 19 points in the first half for Duke but left the game with 12:39 to play with his fourth foul. Barrett saw to it the Blue Devils protected their lead without Williamson, who returned to play the game’s final six minutes.
The Blue Devils never trailed as they beat N.C. State for the first time since 2016.
The win gives Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski 1,123 career wins, giving him the most wins of any men’s or women’s college basketball coach at the four-year level. Harry Statham retired from McKendree College (Ill.) last year with 1,122 wins over 52 seasons coaching at the NAIA and NCAA Division II levels.
Torin Dorn scored 17 points while Markell Johnson added 16 and C.J. Bryce 13 for the Wolfpack (18-8, 6-7).
Williamson’s 19 first-half points allowed Duke to lead 48-40 at halftime. Three Blue Devils dunks -- two by Marques Bolden and one from Cam Reddish -- over the first minute after halftime pushed Duke’s lead to 54-40.
Just when it appeared the Blue Devils were about to pull away, N.C. State scored on five of its next six possessions. Bryce and Braxton Beverly both hit 3-pointers during the run, which cut Duke’s lead to 59-52 with 15:46 to play.
Duke turned up its defensive intensity, ending the next four Wolfpack possessions with steals. Bolden had three of them.
Barrett’s 3-pointer extended Duke’s lead back to 12 points at 64-52 with 14 minutes to play.
NC State pulled back within eight points when Johnson drilled a 3-pointer for a 69-61 Duke lead with 9:23 to play.
Duke’s lead remained at eight points after N.C. State’s Devon Daniels drove the lane to score with 6:42 left, leaving the Blue Devils with a 73-65 edge.
The Blue Devils scored the game’s next two baskets for a 77-65 lead. Williamson, who had been on the bench with four fouls for six minutes, returned to take a pass from Barrett to score inside.
Tre Jones hit a jumper from the free throw line with 5:02 left giving Duke a 12-point lead.
When Bolden rebounded Williamson’s missed free throw to draw a foul and hit two free throws of his own, Duke led 80-67 with 3:58 left.
Williamson needed less than 10 minutes of the first half to reach 10 points as he help Duke jump to a 25-15 lead.
He got free in the lane early, drawing fouls to hit a pair of free throws twice over Duke’s first three possession. He later added a pair of dunks before scoring on a drive in the lane for a 25-15 Duke lead with 11:14 left in the first half.
With 6:44 left in the half, Williamson scored in the lane while being fouled by C.J. Bryce. His free throw gave Duke a 32-19 lead. That was Duke’s largest advantage of the first half.
NC State’s Jericole Hellems scored at the rim after slick passes from guards Braxton Beverly and Markell Johnson on the Wolfpack’s final two possessions of the half. That cut Duke’s lead to 48-40 at halftime.