Coach Mike Krzyzewski slammed a chair during a timeout shortly after halftime. By the end of the game, RJ Barrett was slamming home an alley-oop pass off the glass.
Just that quickly, Duke can turn a frustrating night into yet another blowout.
Barrett had 27 points and a season-best 15 rebounds, and third-ranked Duke pulled away to rout Hartford 84-54 on Wednesday night.
Zion Williamson added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Tre Jones and Javin DeLaurier finished with 10 points apiece to help the Blue Devils (8-1) win their third straight.
But it wasn’t always a laugher — Coach K took a timeout roughly 90 seconds into the half and slammed the bottom of his chair onto the floor to get his team’s attention.
“I didn’t know what he was doing at first — I was like, he just had the chair and he started hitting the ground,” Williamson said. “It’s just motivation for us to pick it up, because when he’s doing that, obviously it means we’re not doing our job.”
It worked. Duke shot 62 per cent in the second half to more than make up for hitting just five three-pointers — matching a season low.
J.R. Lynch scored 13 points and Jason Dunne added 12 for Hartford (3-7), a 38-point underdog that hung around well into the second half before fading. Dunne’s long three-pointer pulled the Hawks within eight points with just over 12 minutes left.
Williamson then hit two free throws, Jack White followed with a steal and dunk and Cameron Reddish — who had missed all six of his three-pointers to that point — buried a three in transition to give the Blue Devils their largest lead to that point at 54-39. Duke rolled from there for its fifth blowout in five home games.