Duke can survive without Zion
Star big man missed the 2nd half of Saturday’s game with eye injury.
Duke walked in the rest of college basketball’s shoes on Saturday, living life without Zion Williamson.
That the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils won anyway is a testament to their talent. That Duke came back in the second half, with Williamson out with an eye injury, to win, 80-78, at No. 13 Florida State and quiet the Tucker Center crowd is a testament to its toughness.
“With the crowd like that as much as it is against us,” Duke freshman point guard Tre Jones said. “I feel like it prepares us for moments at the end of the year when we just need to come together as a team no matter what’s happening out there.”
This wasn’t just one player Duke was missing. The 6-foot7 Williamson is playing like a first-team, all-american who has a good chance to be the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA draft. He averages 20.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He leads Duke with 31 steals and is second on the team with 26 blocked shots.
“It’s a big loss,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “For this game, are you kidding? Especially with the athleticism we were facing.”
Duke hosts Syracuse tonight in another ACC matchup, and Williamson’s status is uncertain.
Williamson was injured with 1:26 left in the first half when Florida State guard Trent Forrest gouged his face with his fingers, hitting him in both eyes while trying to defend the bigger Williamson. The contact to the left eye was the most damaging, leaving Williamson with double vision.
It never cleared during the second half, and he didn’t play after halftime.
Florida State’s Trent Forrest, right, gets his hand in the face of Duke’s Zion Williamson during Saturday’s game.