DURHAM, N.C. (AP)Those freshmen at No. 4 Duke are figuring out how to score at this level. It helps that they have a veteran sophomore getting them the ball.
Tre Jones had 15 points and eight assists in the Blue Devils’ 89-55 rout of Colorado State on Friday night.
Alex O’Connell had 14 points while three freshmen also reached double figures – Cassius Stanley led the way with 19 points, Vernon Carey had 11 before fouling out and Wendell Moore Jr. finished with 10 – for the Blue Devils (2-0).
”That’s going to be our team – we’re going to play a lot of guys and see what works,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
They shot 54% and dominated the paint, hitting 70% of their shots inside the arc to win their 38th consecutive home opener.
Wearing gray uniforms trimmed in gold to honor Krzyzewski – who led the U.S. national team to three consecutive Olympic gold medals from 2008-16 – the Blue Devils pulled away by closing the first half on a 10-0 run, then outscored the Rams 47-29 in the final 20 minutes.
”We know that that’ll come – we’re still learning a lot of things about ourselves,” Jones said. ”We’re really focused on defense right now, and that can lead to easy offense. We’re still figuring out our offense, bit by bit, and always keep learning.”
Duke improved to 19-1 when Jones – the only member of last season’s star-studded freshman class to return for his sophomore season – scores in double figures. He followed his 15-point, seven-assist performance in the opening victory over No. 3 Kansas in the Champions Classic with another strong game.
He had a hand in 11 of Duke’s first 21 field goals – hitting seven, assisting on four – and his reverse layup with 17 1/2 minutes left pushed the lead into the 20s.
Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy had 12 points apiece for the Rams (1-1). They shot 33% with as many turnovers (18) as field goals.
Colorado State: The Rams were trying for their first win over a power-conference opponent (not including instate rival Colorado) since they beat Missouri in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but Cameron Indoor Stadium is a tough place to make that happen. Colorado State never led but kept this one competitive for about 15 minutes, giving second-year coach Niko Medved some positives to build upon as Mountain West play draws closer.
”This will help them a lot more than they realize,” Medved said.
Duke: The Blue Devils simply don’t lose nonconference home games – this was their 148th consecutive victory against a non-ACC opponent at Cameron – but there were plenty of teachable moments for Krzyzewski’s young team. The Duke players aside from Jones combined for six assists, and the Blue Devils were just 4 of 22 from 3-point range.
”We can improve a lot. There’s no ceiling on any kid because … none of them are in complementary roles,” Krzyzewski said. ”When you’re playing with Zion (Williamson) and RJ (Barrett), (Marvin) Bagley and (Wendell) Carter, (Jayson) Tatum. … It’s like a musical. When you have two guys (at a time) like that, they sing most of the songs and do most of the dances. Ours is more like a cabaret.”
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
The highlight-reel dunks didn’t leave Duke just because Williamson did. O’Connell stole it from Kendle Moore near midcourt and passed upcourt to Stanley, whose tomahawk jam put the Blue Devils up 46-28 with just over 18 minutes left.
IN THE CROWD
Just your ordinary night at Cameron: Jerry Seinfeld sat next to David Robinson in the second row under Duke’s second-half basket. Seinfeld’s daughter is a Duke freshman while Robinson’s son Justin was selected as the team’s fourth captain earlier in the week.
Colorado State: Plays host to Omaha on Wednesday night.
Duke: Plays host to Central Arkansas on Tuesday night.
For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25