- Duke sophomore point guard Tre Jones delivered a stunning cross-court dime to guard Cassius Stanley that was so crafty, it surprised players on both sides of the floor.
- Jones threaded the needle and sent the ball soaring between a defender’s legs before hitting Stanley in stride.
- The bouncy Blue Devil freshman took two strides and hammered the ball home to tie the game.
- The No. 4 Blue Devils would go on to pull off the 68-66 upset against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks at Madison Square Garden.
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Duke fans have long known that their team has a special player in Tre Jones, but the sophomore point guard is so crafty that sometimes he manages to surprise his own teammates.
During the Blue Devils’ Tuesday-night upset of the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks, Jones delivered a stunning cross-court dime to guard Cassius Stanley that stupefied the defense and astounded Stanley himself.
As soon as Jack White secured the defensive rebound, Stanley took off down the floor. White kicked the ball out to Jones, who spotted his young teammate across the court and fired off a long bounce pass that threaded the needle and found Stanley in stride. The bouncy Duke freshman took two paces before launching towards the basket and hammering home a floor-shaking dunk.
Thread the needle, drop the hammer
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) November 6, 2019
“I ran my lane expecting it, but when I caught it, I was surprised,” Stanley told Business Insider after Tuesday’s game. “I’m pretty sure he threw it through someone’s legs. It was like when you’re at the ocean and you get a smooth little rock and you skip it, that’s what I was expecting, but it bounced right to me and I was like ‘okay, I’ve gotta finish this.'”
Jones, meanwhile, knew all along that the flashy pass would hit the mark.
“Oh, for sure, I definitely thought that was getting through to my guy Cash,” Jones said. “I knew that was going to be a big momentum play for us, especially after he had just had a crazy dunk the play before. I had to find him somehow.”
Stanley’s second slam tied the game at 47 with just more than 11 minutes remaining in the second half, and he would go on to add eight points in the Blue Devils’ 13-3 run down the stretch.
The Los Angeles native game to Duke as a four-star recruit and was not necessarily expected to start amidst a Blue Devil roster that features a slew of former five-star and top-10 recruits. But Stanley got the nod Tuesday night and certainly made the most of it, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor.
“It was rocking. It was amazing,” Stanley said of leading his team to victory in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. “I looked up and it was packed. That was insane. Driving to the shoot around today I was smiling like a little kid.”
“That’s literally what you dream for,” Stanley added. “I felt like a little kid.”
Jones’ artful dishes and Stanley’s awe-inspiring athleticism were far from the only bright spots on display for the Blue Devils Tuesday night. Freshman Matthew Hurt added 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting from range and hit an ice-cold go-ahead trey with 3:58 to go in the contest. Classmate Vernon Carey Jr. – a 6-foot-10 center who held his own in the paint against Kansas’ seasoned big man Udoka Azubuike – was perfect from beyond the arc, draining two threes to pad his 11-point, six-rebound performance.
But above all, Duke’s defense was the focal point in its highly-anticipated season debut. The Blue Devils forced a whopping 28 turnovers from the Jayhawks and held them scoreless from the field for close to five minutes down the stretch to walk away with the 68-66 victory and lots of confidence moving forward.
“Coach always told us ‘this is an old-fashioned Duke team. It’s not going to be pretty. We’re going to be ugly sometimes, but we’re going to grit it out and we’re going to get dubs,'” Stanley said. “So we expected it. This is what we came for, and we knew they weren’t going to lay down and we weren’t going to lay down, so we knew it was going to be a dogfight.”
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