Sports

Barrett, Williamson help No. 2 Duke rally past No. 12 Texas Tech

Duke’s RJ Barrett talks NBA and the Blue Devils’ toughness after win over Texas Tech

Duke freshman star RJ Barrett talked about his first game at Madison Square Garden, using the New York Knicks locker room and the Blue Devils' play in a 69-58 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
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Duke freshman star RJ Barrett talked about his first game at Madison Square Garden, using the New York Knicks locker room and the Blue Devils' play in a 69-58 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.

Like No. 2 Duke’s entire team, RJ Barrett struggled to hit shots while No. 12 Texas Tech built an eight-point, second-half lead Thursday night.

That didn’t slow Duke’s resolve on defense or Barrett’s willingness keep trying to score and both things allowed Duke hand Texas Tech its first loss.

Barrett missed just two shots over the game’s final 10 minutes, 14 seconds as he scored 10 of his 16 points in Dukes come-from-behind 69-58 win at Madison Square Garden.

After missing 13 of his first 16 shots, Barrett hit four of his final six shots. He scored eight Duke points in a row over a four-minute stretch just before Duke (11-1) took the lead for good.

Texas Tech (10-1) turned the ball over 24 times as Duke collected 15 steals. Tre Jones led Duke with six steals while scoring 13 points.

Zion Williamson led Duke with 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 3:51 to play. He was whistled for an offensive foul on a spin move in the lane, his third charging foul of the game.

Jarrett Culver scored a game-high 25 points for Texas Tech.

Texas Tech entered the game leading the country in field goal defense as its opponents had only made 32.2 percent of their shots. Duke struggled for the first 25 minutes of the game, hitting just 14 of its first 40 shots while missing 12 3-pointers without making one.

But Duke found enough offense down the stretch to pull out the win despite shooting just 38 percent overall. The Blue Devils made just 3 of 20 3-pointers.

After leading 29-28 at halftime, Texas Tech pushed its lead to 42-34 with 14:21 to play as Duke made just two of its first eight second-half shots.

Jones keyed a Duke comeback on both ends. He hit a layup in transition, drove the lane to hit a jump shot through contact and drew an offensive foul to force a turnover.

When Williamson sank two free throws with 12:43 to play, Texas Tech’s lead was down to 42-40.

Culver hit a 3-pointer, but Williamson sank two free throws.

Jack White finally hit Duke’s first 3-pointer of the game with 11:11 to play tying the score at 45.

Barrett’s basket in the lane gave Duke its first lead of the second half at 47-46. His basket in transition extended the Duke lead to 49-46.

Then it was Culver’s turn to lead a charge.

After Kyle Edwards scored on a drive, Culver drilled a 3-pointer at 8:10. His drive and dunk at 7:27 put the Red Raiders up 53-49.

Duke had the next spurt of offense to take the lead for good.

Two Barrett free throws and a Barrett jumper in the lane tied the score at 53.

Matt Mooney’s driving basket with 6:20 gave Texas Tech its final lead at 55-53.

White put Duke in front with a 3-pointer from the corner. Williamson hit two free throws and Cam Reddish added two more with 4:52 left giving Duke a 60-55 lead.

After Williamson fouled out, Reddish hit a 3-pointer in the right corner giving Duke a 63-57 lead with 3:17 left. Barrett’s drive to score through contact with 2:43 left extended Duke’s lead to 65-57.

Duke’s lowest-scoring first half of the season left it trailing 29-28 at intermission.

The Blue Devils scored the game’s first eight points as they recorded three steals before the Red Raiders scored a point.

But Duke’s inability to score in its half-court offense allowed the Red Raiders to eventually catch up and build a 24-17 lead.

Culver was the lone Texas Tech player who was able to find driving lanes against Duke’s half-court defense. The Blue Devils recorded to score 15 points off turnovers in the first half.

But Culver scored 14 points on six of nine shooting over the first 20 minutes.

His 3-pointer with 8:15 left until halftime staked the Red Raiders to their 24-17 lead.

Williamson began aggressively driving to the basket attempting to get the Blue Devils half-court offense going. He succeeded, for a while, and led Duke with 11 first-half points.

Texas Tech led 26-21 when Williamson grabbed a pass from Jones and slammed home two points. He was fouled in the lane on Duke’s next two possessions, hitting three of four free throws to tie the game at 26.

But a Williamson drive with 3:40 left in the half resulted in his second foul. He picked up his third foul 19 seconds later while defending Texas Tech center Tariq Owens and headed to the bench for the rest of the half.

Without him, Duke scored on just one of its last nine possessions before halftime.

The Blue Devils finished the first half shooting 37.5 percent while missing all 10 of their 3-point shots.





An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.


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