Preview: Boston College at Duke
While Zion Williamson is making a mockery of the ACC with his offensive play during conference action, Tre Jones is also showing he has few peers on the defensive end. Behind the contributions of two of the country’s best rookies, No. 2 Duke sets its sights on a sixth straight victory Tuesday in its final tune-up before the most challenging part of its schedule when it hosts Boston College.
Williamson is averaging a league-best 25.1 points while shooting 71.8 percent from the field during ACC play, dipping below 25 points only once over the last six contests while converting at least 60 percent of his field-goal attempts in every game. He scored 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting, added six rebounds and five steals in Saturday’s 91-61 rout of St. John’s, but Jones was not to be outdone. He had 13 points, a career-high seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals while holding Shamorie Ponds – the Big East’s third-leading scorer – to nearly 10 points below his season average. “If (Jones is) doing his job, then they’re going to shoot under 40 percent. … He’s as good as anybody in the country on defense,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Jones’ next challenge will be to lock up the ACC’s third-leading scorer in 6-1 junior guard Ky Bowman (20.8 points), who exploded for 30 points, 10 boards and nine assists in an upset of the Blue Devils last season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNews
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (11-9, 2-6 ACC): Bowman, who also paces the Eagles with 3.5 assists and ranks second with 7.8 rebounds, has reached double figures in an ACC-best 29 consecutive games and posted his seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 25 points and 10 boards in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Freshman Wynston Tabbs (13.9 points) – the team’s second-leading scorer – was spotted with crutches on the bench and missed a third straight game with a left knee injury. The Eagles owned a 15-5 edge on the offensive glass Saturday – turning it into a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points – but they allowed the Fighting Irish to become the third conference opponent to shoot over 50 percent against them.
ABOUT DUKE (19-2, 7-1): Williamson (22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), who ranks second overall in the ACC in scoring, third in rebounding and third in the country in field-goal percentage (68.7), extended his school freshman record of 25-point games to 10 and is 43-of-54 from the field over the last four contests. RJ Barrett (ACC-best 23.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), who recorded his fourth double-double and third in the last seven games with 15 points and 14 boards versus the Red Storm, needs 15 more points to reach 10th place on the single-season Duke freshman scoring list. Fellow freshman Cam Reddish (13.0 points) tallied 16 points Saturday and is averaging 13.9 points in his last six outings, nearly double the 7.7 points per game he scored over his previous six contests.
1. After BC, four of Duke’s next six opponents are ranked – including three of the next four: No. 3 Virginia, No. 17 Louisville, North Carolina State and No. 8 North Carolina.
2. Bowman has played 403 of a possible 405 minutes over the last 10 games and averages a Division I-high 39 minutes for the season.
3. Jones’ five turnovers Saturday matched the number he has committed during ACC play.