Duke Cements No. 1 Ranking; Beats No. 2 Michigan State 88-81


Duke Cements No. 1 Ranking; Beats No. 2 Michigan State 88-81

Duke’s biggest game of the season was always going to be a big test for a young and inexperienced group. And things got a lot tougher when the Blue Devils lost Marvin Bagley, III after 10 minutes to an eye injury.

With Bagley sidelined the Blue Devils began to lean on their backcourt tandem of Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval. And those two delivered in a big, big way.

Allen scored a career high 37 points on 11-of-20 shooting while Duval went for 17 points and 10 assists as Duke came away with an 88-81 victory over No. 2 Michigan State.

Much as he did a season ago in Duke’s victory over the Spartans in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Allen found space and continued to knock down big shot after big shot. It began in the final seconds of the first half with Duke clinging to a one point lead. Allen came off a screen and knocked down a 23 footer to give the Blue Devils momentum and a four point half time lead.

But Michigan State wasn’t backing down behind their preseason All-American Miles Bridges. The sophomore forward who had been held in check by the Duke defense in the first half, scored 16 of his 19 points after intermission as the teams traded leads and runs. However, when it came down to crunch time, Bridges missed an open perimeter jumper and then lost Allen off the ball, allowing the Blue Devil captain to knock down a three of his own to give Duke breathing room.

When asked what was working for him after the game Allen was quick to point to his point guard, Trevon Duval. The Delaware native recorded his second straight double-double and though he struggled shooting from the floor, Duval still managed to convert a couple of contested layups to either match or stop Spartan runs down the stretch.

Classmate Wendell Carter added 12 points and 12 rebounds while Javin DeLaurier substituted in for Bagley and finished with four points and seven rebounds.

As a team Duke overcame a poor shooting night (30-of-76) by out-rebounding the Spartans by 12 including 25 offensive rebounds that led to 17 second chance points. The Blue Devil defense also forced 17 Spartan turnovers on the evening.