It was the Zion Williamson show Friday night in front a packed house of 18,000 cheering fans as the Duke Blue Devils started their quest for a National Title in Men’s College Basketball at the NCAA Tournament opening round in Columbia , South Carolina. The 6 foot-7 inch 285 pound freshman led the Duke Blue Devils to a convincing win over North Dakota State 85-62. Williamson, NCAA Player of the Year scored 25 points and was a dominate force through out the game. Duke’s other freshman phenom, Canada’s R.J. Barrett led Duke in scoring with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
This dynamic due showed everyone why they are considered to be among the top three players’ in this year’s National Basketball Association’s Draft later this spring. Barrett and Williamson gave Duke two players with 20 points or more in a NCAA Tournament debut for the first time in over 35 years. Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski liked his team’s effort in the second describing it as beautiful basketball.
Duke, winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title, started four freshmen perhaps accounting for the sluggish start as Duke led by only 10 points at half time 37-27 over the 16th seed NDS. But after that it was the Zion Williamson and R. J. Barrett show.
How good is Zion Williamson. Just ask North Dakota State Head Coach, David Richman. “Probably one of the best athletes I’ve seen with my own eyes”.
Duke will play UCF on Sunday March 24th for a spot in the Sweet 16. It should be a dandy, setting the stage for College Basketball’s most dynamic player against College Basketball’s Giant Tacko Fall standing at 7 feet-6 inches tall. Now that is a big man!