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Duke Continues to Roll, Defeats Texas Tech at MSG

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There is no lack of excitement about the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. In front of a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd, which included the likes of Knicks’ first round draft pick Kevin Knox, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and company pulled away in the second half and held on to defeat Texas Tech 69-58 in the Ameritas Insurance Classic. 

Williamson, who needs no introduction, attracted fans of all ages into the arena early as he went through his warmup routine, stretching and laughing as he jogged up the court to get loose. Fans had all their attention on the freshman, watching his every move and pulling out a phone to get a lasting memory. 

Following the opening tip, the freshman threw down a monstrous alley-open, getting the Duke faithful on their feet. Williamson would finish with 17 points and 13 boards in 25 minutes, while fellow freshman RJ Barrett added 16 points in the victory. 

With much of the hype around Williamson, and rightfully so, it was the Blue Devils role players that produced down the stretch after Williamson fouled out of the game with an offensive charge cutting hard to the basket. 

At the time of the foul, the Blue Devils held only a five-point lead, but a three-point bucket from freshman Cam Reddish sealed the win for the Blue Devils, their 35th at MSG. 

“It was a great, great game. Tough to score for both teams, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewsk said. “Both teams are such good defensive teams and played their butts off and the Garden was electric. Sellout. Texas Tech had so many of their people We had ours. This is a great night for college basketball.”

Although coaching arguably the best team in college hoops, Krzyzewsk appreciates the legacy of Madison Square Garden and the legends that have come before. 

“A lot of the greats, probably all of the greats, have definitely played here,” he said. “Playing for the greatest coach of all time at the greatest university with my brothers… I really can’t put this feeling into words. It’s just something you have to go through to really know what it feels like.”

Williamson also praised the venue, hinting to dreamful Knicks fans that he could one day dawn the blue and orange himself. 

“This is the Garden,” Williamson said. “A lot of greats have come through here. My favorite great to come through here was probably Bernard King because my stepdad talked about him a lot how he just put the ball in the basket. … I had to go watch his highlights. He could really score the basketball. He was incredible how he did it.

“Playing 41 games here wouldn’t be so bad.”

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