Zion Williamson was good from the ground in his return Thursday.
The Duke star didn’t miss a shot and tallied 29 factors, together with 14 rebounds, in his workforce’s 84-72 win over Syracuse within the quarterfinals of the ACC Event.
Williamson had not performed since spraining his knee towards North Carolina on Feb. 20.
RJ Barrett added 23 factors for Duke whereas Frank Howard scored a team-high 28 for Syracuse within the dropping effort.
Duke will face North Carolina within the ACC Event semifinals Friday. Listed below are three takeaways from its victory over the Orange:
Duke is a special workforce with Zion
This goes with out saying however Duke is a totally completely different workforce with Williamson on the court docket.
Williamson’s presence had an impact on each ends of the ground. He attacked the basket for straightforward appears to be like across the rim all sport lengthy and in addition drew fouls — he shot two of 9 from the free throw line. Williamson’s return additionally benefited his teammates, as there was much less stress on them to create their very own photographs.
Defensively, Williamson supplied Duke a rim protector and altered a number of Syracuse photographs. He chipped in 5 steals, as effectively.
The Blue Devils weren’t as dominant with out their star — they went simply 3-Three in his absence. They’ve misplaced simply twice with Williamson absolutely wholesome.
Blue Devils nonetheless want extra from Jones, Reddish
Duke is likely one of the greatest groups within the nation with Williamson within the lineup and it may very well be even higher if it obtained extra from Tre Jones and Cam Reddish.
The 2 freshmen mixed to shoot 5 of 19 from the sphere and hit simply three of their 13 3-point makes an attempt. Their struggles left Williamson and Barrett to hold most of Duke’s offensive load.
Groups have oftentimes left Jones open with a purpose to key on the Blue Devils’ stars whereas Reddish has been inconsistent. Duke can be a surefire nationwide championship favourite if these two rebound and play to their potential.
Jones did add a game-high eight assists.
This time, Syracuse wasn’t at full energy
Duke was lacking key gamers the prior two occasions it confronted Syracuse this season.
Reddish missed the groups’ first assembly at Cameron Indoor Stadium with an sickness and Jones injured his shoulder early within the first half. The Orange went on to win that sport in additional time, 95-91.
Williamson then missed the second matchup, a 75-65 Duke win on the Provider Dome, together with his knee harm. This time round, nonetheless, Syracuse was with out its greatest participant, as Tyus Battle was sidelined with a again harm.
Battle is averaging 17.2 factors this season and Syracuse will want him to be again to full energy for the NCAA Event. Coach Jim Boeheim stated Wednesday that Battle was “realistically two or three days away” from taking part in once more.
Duke middle Marques Bolden can be out for the ACC Event with a knee harm.