It was a night that many people hoped or thought would never come: Zion Williamson returning to the court for the Duke Blue Devils. But that’s exactly what happened on Thursday night, and it wasn’t a minute too soon for them. Williamson simply electrified the Charlotte crowd by posting 29 points in the 84-72 win over tricky Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. How he did so, though, was even more impressive. On top of just coming back from what could have been a season, if not career, ending injury, he made every single shot from the floor, hitting all 13 of his field goal attempts in the victory. Yes, he missed seven of nine free throws, but how often can say that? Duke, the number five team in the country, looked so much better as a result, and they have now rolled into the semi-finals where they will face rivals North Carolina.
The Tar Heels won both meetings in the regular season, but crucially, Duke did not have Williamson except for the opening moments of the first game before his injury. It’s a new day, and everyone would be wise to watch out.