Canada’s young basketball star R.J. Barrett scored 35 points, while rookie teammate Zion Williamson added 24, to lead the Duke Blue Devils to a 96-60 pre-season rout of the University of Toronto on Friday.
A two-man wrecking crew for the second consecutive game, Barrett and Williamson dazzled the crowd at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Barrett’s virtual backyard with a dizzying array of dunks — seemingly enough to fill a season’s worth of highlight reels.
Barrett, an 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., shot 15-for-26 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds.
Joey Baker, with 11 points, was the only other Blue Devil to score in double figures. Barrett and Williamson received a standing ovation when they left the game with just under four minutes to play.
Nikola Paradina led the Varsity Blues with 15 points.
The game was the second of Duke’s three-game pre-season Canadian tour, and the first trip north of the border in the storied program’s history. The Blue Devils beat the back-to-back Canadian University silver medallists Ryerson Rams 86-67 on Wednesday, in Barrett’s much-anticipated college debut.
The arena — formerly the Hershey Centre, normally home to Raptors 905 — was filled to its 5,400-seat capacity for both games, and Friday’s crowd included Canadian sprinter and three-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse, Washington Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly, Las Vegas Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban and 10-time NBA all-star David Robinson, whose son Justin plays for Duke.
Just like Wednesday’s game, the arena was awash in Duke blue, thanks in part to a ticket pre-sale to the school’s alumni.
The Blue Devils will travel to Montreal to face the McGill Redmen on Sunday.
Barrett and Williamson combined for 63 points in Wednedsay’s win, and over the two pre-season games have provided a tantalizing preview of the upcoming NCAA season.
Barrett and Williamson were ESPN’s No. 1 and 2-ranked freshmen, while Duke also boasts No. 3-ranked Cam Reddish, who hasn’t played yet due to injury. And while Barrett has been touted as the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick next spring, the six-foot-seven, 285-pound Williamson, a unique combination of bulk and splendid ball skills and athleticism, could give the Canadian a run for his money.
Williamson, who was trending on Twitter during the game, brought the fans out of their seats when he drove to the hoop for an emphatic dunk in the third quarter. Barrett followed it up with an alley-oop dunk of his own.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Barrett late in the first helped send Duke into the second quarter with a 23-14 lead.
The Varsity Blues would pull to within 32-26, but Duke dominated the rest of the quarter to take a 43-28 advantage into the halftime break.
Duke poured it on the third, and led 70-44 with one quarter left to play.