The historic Duke Canada Tour came to an end Sunday evening in Montreal after the Blue Devils defeated the McGill Redmen 103-58, concluding the trip with a perfect 3-0 record against U SPORTS opponents. Despite Duke winning by an average of 33 points, Canadian fans in Montreal stood proud and loud to give a standing ovation to both teams after the game. The sellout crowd was overwhelmed by the talent displayed on the court and showed their gratitude to what became the most-attended three-game foreign tour in NCAA history. Having sold out all three contests with a total of 21,028 fans – including Duke playing the Ryerson Rams and Toronto Varsity Blues at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Ont. - it’s fair to say that Canada has reached its peak in the basketball world.
History will always have Canada as the country in which R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson made their highly-anticipated Duke debuts. The memories that they left for Canadian basketball fans will live on forever in what some people are beginning to call it the “R.J. Effect”.
1. R.J. Barrett’s Duke debut in his hometown of Mississauga
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Barrett, the Canadian star and 2019 projected No.1 pick who won gold with Canada’s U19 team last summer under Ryerson coach Roy Rana. “I saw like a whole section of my family and friends. It was a great environment to be in.”
2. Tanor Ngom
Ryerson’s 7-2 Center, Tanor Ngom is already making headlines as he gets ready to begin his sophomore season. Ngom became the first U SPORTS player to ever receive an invite to the Nike Basketball Academy earlier this month held Aug. 8-12 and Rana has high aspirations for him. After having his personal block party during the game, Ngom showed incredible potential in front of the big crowd, with Ryerson holding a 17-15 lead after the first quarter, before ultimately falling 86-67. Ngom finishing the game with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
3. U of T faces Duke in matchup of two historical programs
When it comes to historical excellence in both the athletic and academic departments, the University of Toronto is right up there with Duke as far as the World University Rankings - with Duke ranking 18th and U of T at 22nd as recent as last year. Both schools have had a men’s basketball team since the early 1900’s (Duke 1906, U of T 1907). The two have a rich history in dominating their respective basketball leagues. This game will be remembered for a very long time as having two legendary programs meeting up in Canada.
4. Alex Paquin scores half of McGill’s points in loss
Alex Paquin stole the show early in the game. After a numbers of highlight reel plays, Paquin led the Redmen to an early lead and making his case for one of the best guards in Canada. He not only proved to be a player to look out for, but he also became a fan favorite after his performance last Sunday.
5. The talent of U SPORTS
Duke bench boss Mike Krzyzewski, Barrett, Williamson and the rest of the Duke squad had nothing but high praise when talking about the level of competition, the fans and the coaches in U SPORTS. The future will be bright and U SPORTS basketball have a reason to keep their heads high for a long time.