Freshman Jalen Johnson had 19 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks to help No. 9 Duke overcome a turnover-filled performance and beat Coppin State, 81-71, in Saturday’s delayed season opener for both teams in Durham, North Carolina.
The 6-foot-9 Johnson made all eight of his shots from the field, including a 3-pointer, and both of free throws while also tallying five assists. Fellow rookie DJ Steward scored 24 points for the Blue Devils, including a key 3-pointer with 2:02 left that helped keep Duke in control during an unexpectedly tight finish.
Duke was playing without its rowdy fans in the famously hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Blue Devils shot 53% but committed 22 turnovers to give the Eagles plenty of extra chances.
DeJuan Clayton and Anthony Tarke each scored 22 points to lead the Eagles, who shot 33% but made 10 3-pointers — seven coming after halftime — to keep the pressure on Duke the entire second half.
Coach Juan Dixon’s Eagles were scheduled to play Marshall on Wednesday and Arkansas State on Thursday before those games were canceled due to COVID-19-related issues. In this game, the team picked fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Northern Division thrived off Duke’s miscues by scoring 28 points off turnovers.
“We just wanted to give our guards the freedom to go out there and make plays,” Dixon said, adding: “If our guys can play against this top-10 team like this, we feel as though we can compete with any team in the country.”
The Blue Devils were set to face Gardner-Webb on Wednesday before that game was postponed due to coronavirus issues within the Runnin’ Bulldogs program. This was the first chance to see how Duke’s lineup would look after the departures of prominent players like point guard Tre Jones and big man Vernon Carey Jr. Duke helped offset the turnover problem and a bad day at the foul line (4 of 10) by finishing with a 50-31 rebounding advantage.
Coppin State is scheduled to visit Towson on Thursday.
UMBC 80, St. Francis (Pa.) 65: The Retrievers (1-1) overcame a halftime deficit to post their first victory of the season.
The Retrievers had three reach double digits scoring led by senior Brandon Horvath (Southern) with 18 points and 12 rebounds. It was his second straight double double and the eighth of his career.
Horvath finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double. Darnell Rogers ended with 15 points, all in the second half with Dimitrije Spasojevic added 12 in the victory.
Mark Flagg led the Red Flash(1-1) with 16 points with Tyler Stewart and Maxwell Land adding 12 and 10 respectively.
No. 24 Missouri State 81, No. 12 Maryland 72: Missouri State (2-0) broke open a tight game by outscoring the Terps 23-9 in the third quarter to win the matchup of ranked teams at the Gulf Coast Challenge in Florida.
Freshman Angel Reese (St. Frances) led Maryland (1-1) with 13 points, while Channise Lewis, Mimi Collins and Ashley Owusu all scored 12. Katie Benzan had 11 points for the Terps, who play their first home game Wednesday when they host Coppin State.