Young Duke basketball team stands tall in hostile Indiana

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

No. 1 Duke Basketball went into Assembly Hall and won their first true road game in front of a raucous crowd on Wednesday night.

There were points on Wednesday night when a lesser team would have folded. The top-ranked Duke Blue Devils are the real deal and will still only get better. A team that starts four freshmen is generally not this good this early, and places like Assembly Hall expose that. All Indiana exposed is that Marvin Bagley III and Duke Basketball are already ready for the biggest stage.

Duke was favored by as many as a dozen points, but that line was bet down because people were worried how the freshman-laden team would react to such a hostile environment. At points, it looked like Indiana would knock off No. 1 yet again, but each time the Blue Devils rallied. There were 17 ties and 16 lead changes in the game. Just like in the PK80, Duke took back the lead and held it down the stretch for the 91-81 win.

Bagley looks like the leader of this team on the floor, and he certainly has the box score to back it up. The future No. 1 overall pick had his fourth straight double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Most impressively, he did so on 10-of-15 shooting in which two of his misses were threes. He was vocal and animated after lapses in defense and demanded the ball inside. The only real criticism of the Duke gameplan is that he didn’t touch the ball more with how effective he was getting position deep in the post with a Hoosier on his hip.

The lone veteran, Grayson Allen, was Duke’s other 20-point scorer with 21 points and four assists on 7-of-12 shooting.

Bagley’s fellow freshmen Wendell Carter Jr. and Trevon Duval had big games. Carter scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and had two blocks before fouling out. He was big inside defending De’Ron Davis, who pushed around Bagley when matched up one-on-one. Davis might have done more damage than his 16 points if not for early foul trouble.

Duval has gone back to just not turning the ball over ever after a couple rough games at the PK80. The point guard had 15 points and 6 assists.

Indiana is certainly not a great team, but this was a quality win and major step in the progression of a young team. Duke fans should be nothing but optimistic.

What’s Next

Duke Basketball (9-0) next takes the floor on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Blue Devils host the South Dakota Coyotes (6-2) of the Summit League.

Next: First-half offensive explosion keys Carolina victory

Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET at Cameron Indoor.