Duke tops Army in Coach K’s final home debut, honor Armed Forces in Veteran’s Classic


Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski gives a thumbs up in the Blue Devils’ 2021 home debut. Coach K is in his final season with the team (Getty Images).

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Wendell Moore Jr. put up a triple-double, dropping in 19 points, grabbing 10 boards all while dishing out 10 assists as Mike Krzyzewski’s current team, the Duke Blue Devils, beat his old team, Army, 82-56 in Duke’s home opener.

“This is a good night for us because we played against a team that played so hard and was so determined. For our guys to recognize that – that’s how everyone is going to come,” Krzyzewski said. “For these kids, it’s their second college game, and first home game, and there’s a lot to learn.”

He continued, “Overall, we played really good defense. We forced 21 turnovers and gave up 56 points … that’s good. I did not think we were strong with the ball and that has to do with Army West Point playing so hard.”

The Blue Devils had contributions from almost everyone, including freshman Paolo Banchero, who added 18 points.

“I thought we passed and stood. We don’t practice that way. Almost every day, it’s hit, cut, shallow cut, we move the ball,” Krzyzewski said. “Part of it is (Army) plays man-to-man, but it’s a top of the key man-to-man. It’s somewhat like a really good matchup zone… It invites multiple dribbles because it’s almost like ‘what am I going to do’, and you just start dribbling the ball. That comes with experience.”

A graduate of West Point University, Krzyzewski couldn’t help but smile at playing his alma mater.

“The main thing is I’m pleased that Army West Point came here. It is the Veterans Classic and they were the team we wanted the most to come,” he said. “Obviously, these kids are going to serve … it is my alma mater, but the people who have gone there have served. So, it is a way of honoring our Armed Forces and visibly having the United States Military Academy here was tremendous.”

This game also marked the return of Duke’s famous rowdy fans, the Cameron Crazies, for the first time in a regular-season game in more than 20 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blue Devils cannot bask in the glow of the win too long, though, as they face Campbell Saturday at 8 p.m.

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