After getting his 1,000th career win as Duke University head coach, Mike Krzyzewski told the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium how he gives a special wave to his family in the stands each game.
“If you watch me on the sideline, you’d see it,” he said. “But you shouldn’t watch me. You should watch them.”
Krzyzewski pointed at the Blue Devils’ team behind him, then delivered the punchline. “Well, for the first eight minutes tonight, you should have watched me.”
Duke struggled with visiting Utah Valley in the early going. The Wolverines, opening their season with a two-game death march, led Kentucky at the half on Friday night, then jumped out in front of Duke, leading through under-12 time out.
When play resumed, Krzyzewski decided to try something new with his lineup. Senior Grayson Allen and sophomore Javin DeLaurier went to the bench, and five freshmen — Alex O’Connell, Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr., Jordan Goldwire and Marvin Bagley III — took the floor.
Bagley tipped in his own shot and added a three-pointer. O’Connell, Goldwire and Trent got steals. Trent dunked.
When the dust cleared, the Duke freshmen scored nine straight points and had an 11-3 advantage over their 3:13 on the floor together. Duke never trailed again.
“You don’t know it until they do it,” Krzyzewski said. “Like Wendell was disappointed yesterday (after foul trouble limited him to eight points against Elon). He had four blocks for that stretch there, and he really dominated. We won about four possessions and kind of broke it up. And he was the culprit.”
Bagley was Duke’s leading scorer, with 24 points. His 49 points in his first two career games match Jabari Parker’s career record. He’s also the first freshman since Parker to have back-to-back 20-point, 10-rebound games.
“He’s been great,” Grayson Allen said. “I think he was really important for us in the beginning of the game, when we were kind of flat. He brought energy.”
Freshman point guard Trevon Duval, who was on the bench for the five-freshman lineup, had 12 assists, the seventh most ever by a Duke freshman.
“Trevon is 20 (assists) and one (turnover) in the first two games,” Krzyzewski said. “When we get the ball, we can really change ends well. It reminds me of my teams in the early 1990s, how quickly we change ends, and then they like to pass, and more than one guy can bring it up.”
After two lopsided wins to open the season, the Blue Devils have a stiffer test, with a game against No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic.
Duke win No. 1,001 will be tougher for Krzyzewski to obtain, but he’s not worried about his freshmen being ready.
“You just want them to enjoy the moment. Be immersed in the moment,” Krzyzewski said. “Don’t worry about mistakes. Then it’s a matter of letting them play, kind of like today at the second timeout.”