Justise Winslow and his freshmen teammates continue to lead Duke in a big way this preseason.
The 6-foot-6 forward had 17 points and six rebounds while classmate Jahlil Okafor added 15 and nine, pacing Duke to an 87-47 romp over defending Division II champion Central Missouri in exhibition play Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“When we’re out there we just try to stay focused, stay disciplined and make the simple plays,” Winslow said. “When (Okafor) gets the ball, I know he’s going to command a double-team so I make the easy play.”
Inviting the Division II champions to play at Cameron each season has become a tradition at Duke. It was the debut against outside opposition for UCM coach Doug Karleskint, who replaced Kim Anderson, who is now directing the show at Missouri.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Freshman Grayson Allen came off the bench for 10 points for the Blue Devils, while classmate Tyus Jones added eight points, six assists and five steals. Duke’s only scholarship senior, Quinn Cook, added 12 points.
“This was a good game for us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought our effort was outstanding. We played extremely hard. ...
“Justise has been really good since Day One. He’s really good. He’s already physically mature, and he’s got a great maturity about him on and off the court. Physically, he’s way ahead.”
Sean O’Brien led the Mules with 12 points off the bench.
“This was a dream come true,” Karleskint said. “(Krzyzewski) is one of the best. Right before tip, I looked down and it’s just a surreal moment – coaching against a legend – and it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
UCM quieted the Cameron crowd by taking a 13-7 lead before Duke ran off 17 straight points.
The knockout punch might have been Okafor’s three-point play on a slam dunk from Tyus Jones to make it 23-13 with 8:20 left in the half. And the game’s most spectacular play came with 15:04 to go, when Tyus Jones flipped the ball back to Winslow, filling a lane for a monster slam to make it 48-22.
“It was a great pass,” Winslow said. “Tyus is a great facilitator.”
Added Tyus Jones: “(Winslow) is one of my best friends, and we have a good chemistry not only off the court but on the court. He knows that if he runs I’m more than likely going to find him.”
Duke shot 50 percent from the floor to the Mules’ 37.5, won the rebound battle 39-31 and committed only 13 turnovers to the visitors’ 23.
“I’ve always been double- and triple-teamed in the post, so I’m always looking to pass the ball to my teammates,” Okafor said. “This has been a lot of fun, finally going to war against somebody else.
“I don’t think (freshmen) are leading the team. All 10 of these guys are talented and they’re all leaders. There’s not too much pressure on us to lead. We just have to be consistent. And Justise can play (positions) one through four. He’s a man among boys out there, he’s so strong.”
Duke opens its season at home Friday night against Presbyterian in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.