No. 9 Duke defeats No. 10 Kentucky at the Champions Classic
While there have been few freshman classes in the history of Division I men's basketball as talented as Duke's freshman class during the 2018-19 season, when Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish headlined a star-studded class, the Blue Devils' current freshmen invoked memories of the class that preceded them by three seasons.
No. 9 Duke opened its 2021-22 campaign with a 79-71 win over No. 10 Kentucky in the Champions Classic as freshmen Trevor Keels (25 points) and Paolo Banchero (22 points) posted two of the highest point totals by a Duke freshman in his debut in program history.
First game of Coach K's final season one of opening night's highlights
Duke's 79-71 win at Kentucky helped cap off the first day of the college basketball season. In pointing out the more notable numbers from the first day, Mike Lopresti led off with two pieces from Coach K and Duke's win:
40-2 – Mike Krzyzewski’s final record in season openers after the 79-71 win over Kentucky. This one came with a message: Krzyzewski’s last team might be a handful. “We had a chance to make a statement,” mentioned ballyhooed freshman Paolo Banchero, who said hello with 22 points. The loudest part of the statement might have been how the Blue Devils kept pushing even when Banchero was back in the locker room needing an IV for his cramps. But then, he wasn’t even the hottest Duke freshman in the lineup as Trevor Keels went for 25 points. That made 47 from two newcomers who intend to make Krzyzewski’s victory lap a happy one. Something else impressive: The Blue Devils managed a showy win despite going 1-for-13 in 3-pointers.
7-2 – Krzyzewski’s record against Kentucky. The Bluegrass won’t be sad to see him go.
Coach K honored at the Champions Classic
Before tip-off between No. 9 Duke and No. 10 Kentucky, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was honored at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday night's game was his 1,400th game at the school and he was presented with a framed picture of many of his accomplishments, including when he became the all-time leader in wins in NCAA Division I men's basketball at the inaugural Champions Classic.
Duke opens Coach K's final season with a tribute video
Prior to tipoff at the 2021 Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden, Duke's official Twitter account released a tribute video to coach Mike Krzyzewski as he enters his 42nd season as the program's head coach.
You can watch the video below.