When Zion Williamson burst the sole of his shoe and injured his knee against North Carolina on Wednesday night, Duke freshmen R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish were left to shoulder the scoring burden in his absence.
Barrett and Reddish seemingly did their part. The two combined for 60 of the Blue Devils' 72 points, Barrett scoring a game-high 33 with Reddish adding 27. However, it wasn't enough as the Tar Heels comfortably won, 88–72.
Following the game, Barrett and Reddish each noted that Williamson's exit "set us back" as UNC would lead the entire contest.
"I didn’t really know if (Williamson) was hurt or not," Barrett told reporters after the game. "I just got back and then I thought he was gonna put on another pair of shoes and get out there, but to see that he wasn’t coming back to the game was tough."
"I was shocked," added Reddish. "I just hope he’s O.K. really. I mean, it’s a freak accident. I’m just gonna pray for him and hope he’s O.K."
Wednesday didn't mark the first time that Duke has been without Williamson, currently its second-leading scorer. In January, the 6'7", 275-pound forward injured his eye against Florida State and missed the second half of the contest. Reddish rattled home a game-winning three-pointer to lift the Blue Devils to victory.
Duke wasn't as fortunate against the rival Tar Heels, despite Barrett and Reddish's tally.
"He’s a key player," Reddish said of Williamson. "Losing him hurt. But we have to learn how to fight when we lose pieces. It was tougher for us today."
The Blue Devils dropped to 23–3 following the loss. They will next face Syracuse on Saturday.