Only a few weeks into the season and we've had what will surely be a strong candidate for game of the year.
The Maui Invitational put two of the top teams in the nation against each other for the right to be crowned champion, and they did not disappoint. Duke took Gonzaga down to the wire, but it was the Bulldogs who prevailed over the top team in the nation, escaping with a 89-87 victory.
There's a big chance this is a matchup we see sometime down the road in the NCAA Tournament.
This was expected to be a hard-fought battle, but Gonzaga found themselves handling this loaded Duke team with ease earlier on. They were up eight at halftime, and even brought their lead above double-digits thanks to a dominant performance by Rui Hachimura, who ended up with 20 points.
As impressive as the Zags were, you can't keep a Duke team like this down for too long, as the Blue Devils came storming back and got within two in the final minute. It was not enough, however, as Hachimura blocked phenom R.J. Barrett with 31 seconds left to help his team hold on. Duke had another shot when Hachimura missed two free throws, but he could not finish at the rim when it mattered most.
Twice in a row Duke drives it right at the Gonzaga bigs. Not smart.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) November 22, 2018
Hachimura somehow missed both free throws once again, leaving the door open for Duke, but Barrett missed yet another shot under duress and the Blue Devils couldn't clean up their own mess.
You better believe the Zags will be top in the nation after a win like this, but this isn't the last we've seen from the Blue Devils. All told, college basketball is officially in full effect.