Gonzaga students trolled Duke with 'we want Cleveland' chants

Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesThe Blue Devils’ early-season dominance spurred questions of whether they could beat the NBA’s worst team, but Gonzaga put that conversation to rest.
  • After Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and the rest of the Duke Blue Devils’ freakishly talented freshman class opened the season by combining for 89 points to absolutely torch the then-No.2 Kentucky Wildcats, fans and pundits starting musing about whether or not Duke could beat the NBA’s worst team, the LeBronless Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • The Blue Devils took over the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 Poll but met a roadblock in the form of Rui Hachimura and the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the championship game of the Maui Invitational November 21.
  • The Zags stole the top spot from Duke on the AP Poll’s next release Monday afternoon, and their student section took the opportunity to troll the Blue Devils and those who thought they were invincible with “we want Cleveland” chants towards the end of the Bulldogs’ 102-60 rout of the North Dakota State Bison Monday night.

After opening the season by absolutely torching the then-No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats, the Duke Blue Devils were the early kings of the college basketball season.

But after Gonzaga beat Duke and just hours after the Bulldogs took over the top spot in the AP Poll, they routed North Dakota State at home, 102-60, for their seventh win of the season. With the clock winding down and most of the team’s starters resting on the bench, the Gonzaga student section took one more opportunity to deliver a blow to Duke fans.

If you listen closely, you can hear the Bulldog fans cheering “we want Cleveland!”

The chant was in response to some early-season chatter about just how talented this Duke team was.

Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and the rest of the Duke Blue Devils’ freakishly talented freshman class had fans and pundits buzzing about the potential of an undefeated season. Some – including former Blue Devil Jay Williams and Boston Celtics’ great Paul Pierce – argued that Duke had the talent to beat the NBA’s worst team, the LeBronless Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Blue Devils – who had been ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll since trouncing the Wildcats – entered the Maui Invitational tournament with more hype and momentum than any team in the country, but Rui Hachimura and the then-No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs spoiled the party. The Toyama, Japan native notched 20 points and nine rebounds in Gonzaga’s 89-87 upset of Duke in the Championship game November 21. College basketball fans almost immediately took to Twitter to troll the Blue Devils and those who thought they were invincible.

The Zags then added insult to injury by leapfrogging Duke and the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks for the top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll just two weeks after the Blue Devils broke their tie with the UCLA Bruins for most weeks spent at No. 1 all-time.

Whether or not the Zags would actually have a prayer against the Cavaliers is for fans and pundits to decide through arguments on Twitter. In the meantime, however, the Bulldogs will be defending their top ranking against the likes of the Creighton Bluejays, No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers, and No. 11 North Carolina Tar Heels before the end of the year.

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