Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels lead Duke to marquee win over Kentucky in season-opener
Duke won its first game of the 2021-22 season on Tuesday night 79-71 over Kentucky at Madison Square Garden.
The Blue Devils were powered by two superstar performances from freshmen Paolo Banchero and Trevor Keels.
Banchero’s night was somewhat expected. He entered the game with a big reputation — he could end up being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
He delivered on the moment, scoring 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He added 7 rebounds and 2 steals. As good as his offense was, Banchero’s defense also had a big impact on Duke securing this win.
As for Keels, his emergence was more of a surprise. Yes, he was a 5-star prospect, but he wasn’t on the NBA radar in the same way that Banchero — or even fellow 5-star AJ Griffin — was entering tonight. That might be about to change.
Keels scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting. His defense on Kentucky’s back court was sensational — he helped limit TyTy Washington to 3-of-14 shooting on the night.
Wendell Moore Jr. was the only other Blue Devil to score in double figures, putting up 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He also led the team with 3 assists.
The win means Duke is off to a 1-0 start in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season. The Blue Devils are favored to win the ACC this year.
Duke’s next game will be on Friday at home vs. Army.