DURHAM, N.C. — — Freshman Jalen Johnson impresses with a fine double-double and combined to score 43 points with fellow rookie DJ Steward, and the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team secured an 81-71 win over Coppin State in their season opener at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Johnson, who started quickly and went perfect from the field in the first half, brought over that display in the second half, as he ended with 19 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocks for Duke.
Steward led the Blue Devils in scoring on debut, ending the afternoon with a game-high 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting, including four three-pointers off the bench. He also finished with nine rebounds for Duke (1-0), which dominated the glass after outrebounding Coppin State 50-31.
Wendell Moore Jr. added 13 points (6-of-11) and four rebounds and Matthew Hurt finished with 12 points and seven boards for the Blue Devils, who shot 53.1% from the field.
Coppin State’s Dejuan Clayton went 5 of 17 from the open field, but made all 10 of his free throws to end with 22 points.
Anthony Tarke had 22 points, nine rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks to lead the way for the Eagles (0-1), who recovered from a 17 point halftime deficit to make the game interesting in the second half.
“We just wanted to give our guards the freedom to go out there and make plays,” Coppin State coach Juan Dixon said.
“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.”
Koby Thomas added 11 points and Kenan Sarvan chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds for Coppin State, which shot 32.9% overall, despite shooting 42.4% in the second half.
Duke dominated the paint, outscoring Coppin State 44-24 and dominated the bench contributions 33-0.
Duke had a 45-28 lead at halftime, but came out of the break with a sluggish start, which allowed the Eagles to build confidence and get back into the game.
Coppin State forced 22 turnovers and scored 28 points off them.
“We had so many unforced turnovers,” Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We had 22 turnovers and they were like ‘how did that happen?’
“They played good defense but it’s a containment defense, so you shouldn’t turn it over so much against that defense.”
Krzyzewski added: “We really put ourselves in a position and they put us in a position where there was an enormous amount of game pressure.”
“They packed the lane and forced everything to the baseline,” Moore revealed. “We like to get into the lane a lot and we had to adjust.
“I definitely think I should get to the line more, be aggressive in the lane, be strong with the ball, go up strong and finish, get those fouls calls and those and-ones.”