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Snap Judgements: Jimmy V Classic (12.06.16)

Photo by Robert Cole
Before playing at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday for the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Duke star Kyrie Irving had a front row seat to watch the Blue Devils play in the Jimmy V Classic against Florida on Tuesday night. (Photo: Robert Cole)
Before playing at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday for the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Duke star Kyrie Irving had a front row seat to watch the Blue Devils play in the Jimmy V Classic against Florida on Tuesday night. (Photo: Robert Cole)

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Those words, spoken by Jim Valvano during the 1993 ESPY Awards in the late stages of his fight against cancer, live on as the symbolic words of one of the most memorable speeches in recent American history. On Tuesday night, four college basketball teams took part in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City, an annual tradition of keeping the memory alive of the late, great head coach through the game of basketball, as well as raising money for cancer research through the V Foundation. In the first game, No. 18 Purdue shot 59 percent – including hitting 15 of its 27 three-point attempts – in dismantling Arizona State, 97-64. It turned out not to be such a happy homecoming for new Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley, who was a star at St. Anthony High School in nearby Jersey City before becoming one of the all-time great guards in NCAA basketball history and helping to lead Duke to back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992.

Speaking of Duke, the Blue Devils took to the floor for the nightcap, as the No. 5 team in America took on No. 24 Florida from the Southeastern Conference. Duke atoned for the loss it suffered inside of the World’s Most Famous Arena last month against Kansas with an 84-74 win, as sophomore Luke Kennard led the Blue Devils with 29 points while redshirt senior Amile Jefferson recorded 24 points and 15 rebounds. We also saw a glimpse of how good Duke’s No. 1 recruiting class could be tonight, as forward Jayson Tatum, only playing in his second-ever college basketball game, scored 22 points in 29 minutes. When all of the freshmen round into form and get in playing shape after recovering from various injuries, including No. 1 overall recruit Harry Giles, the Blue Devils may very well become scary good.

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