DURHAM, N.C. — Zion Williamson blew out his shoe, and then No. 9 North Carolina blew out top-ranked Duke.
Luke Maye took full advantage of a freak injury to the freshman sensation, finishing with 30 points and 15 rebounds to help the Tar Heels rout Duke 88-72 on Wednesday night.
“Obviously, you lose a national player of the year candidate,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “there are going to be gaps of what you have to do.”
A star-studded crowd that included former President Barack Obama, Spike Lee and Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. packed into Cameron Indoor Stadium looking for another highlight-filled show from Williamson – arguably the most exciting player in college basketball. But the Atlantic Coast Conference’s second-leading scorer sprained his right knee during the Blue Devils’ opening possession.
Opinion: Despite injury, Zion Williamson has benefited tremendously from playing at Duke
“It was just a shock for us,” Duke forward Cameron Reddish said. “Obviously, we’re used to playing with him, so playing without him was very difficult. We missed him today.”
Williamson grabbed the knee in pain after slipping awkwardly and falling when his left Nike shoe fell apart as he planted hard while dribbling near the free-throw line. The blue rubber sole ripped loose from the white shoe from the heel to the toes along the outside edge, with Williamson’s foot coming all the way through the large gap.
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