Duke Hands Kentucky’s John Calipari Worst Loss Of His Coaching Career

Silvia Morton
November 8, 2018

When you factor in the opponent, the Blue Devils' youth and the fact that it was the first game of the season, it's clear that this was a historic performance that likely points toward quite a big year ahead in Durham.

The Blue Devils didn't stop with that flurry.

Freshman RJ Barrett led the Blue Devils with 33 points on 13-26 shooting, while freshman Zion Williamson was incredibly efficient from the floor, scoring 28 on 11-13 shooting.

And if the Blue Devils, who made 54 percent of their shots and 47 percent of their three-point attempts, continue to put on similar displays as the season continues - next up is a home game on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Army, Coach K's alma mater and site of his first head-coaching job - they will be the source of headaches for coaches who will be tasked with figuring out how to slow down such a phenomenal group of freshmen and their impressive supporting cast. They combined for 83 points on the night, nearly outscoring the Wildcats' entire roster. Jones had seven assists while Barrett collected six. The Blue Devils outscored United Kingdom by 24 from the arc.

Kentucky only got as close as 27 until the waning moments.

But Duke closed the half getting easy baskets from Barrett, off a pass from Jones, and Bolden, off a pass from Barrett, to lead 59-42 at intermission.

There were multiple possessions on Tuesday night where it took one dribble for Zion to go from the three-point line, past Reid Travis - Kentucky's 6-foot-8, 260 pound forward that was athletic enough to be recruited to play football at the BCS level - and all the way to the rim. He also added six assists and four rebounds.

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In this Cats Illustrated "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from the United Kingdom loss. It was as bad a night as United Kingdom has ever experienced in a high-profile game.

"To play this well on this stage, right away against Kentucky is surprising, " Krzyzewski said after picking up victory No. 1,101 for his career. The Jayhawks never trailed in the second half.

One has to wonder about the Cats' collective psyche after taking such a brutal loss to open the season. It could take some time to fix the mental damage that Duke inflicted.

Duke was able to limit turnovers, as the Blue Devils had a significant turnover margin.

4-4 - The Cats' record in the Champions Classic. My head tells me Duke isn't going to play like that every night.

Duke sure looked fantastic against Kentucky.

59 - Points in a half tied for the most United Kingdom has surrendered under Calipari in a half (Texas A&M, 2018). Junior forward Jack White did provide nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

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