Duke outlasts Michigan State Basketball in Champions Classic


CHICAGO, Ill. — In game one of two in the State Farm Champions Classic, top-ranked Duke knocked off No. 2 Michigan State 88-81.

“It’s a big-time win for us,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We were worried about bringing a very young team in here, but it’s a talented team we brought into this game.”

The lone senior in the Blue Devils’ starting five, Grayson Allen, led Duke with a game-high 37 points. Allen was an efficient 11-20 from the field, knocking down seven three pointers, with none more big than an NBA-range triple to seal the game with 1:10 left. Allen set a Champions Classic scoring record with his 37, a record previously held by Denzel Valentine, who had 29 back in 2015.

Michigan State held the Blue Devils to just 39 percent from the field, but Duke manhandled the Spartans on the glass 46-34. Duke scored 17 points on second chance points, thanks in large part to freshman Wendell Carter Jr., who collected 12 points and 12 boards.

“To hold them [Duke] to 39 percent, I’m more disappointed in us giving up 25 offensive rebounds,” head coach Tom Izzo said. “Give them credit, and give us all of the blame.”

Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward led the Spartans, all with 19 points. Bridges was 7-15, and knocked down five triples on the night. Often times, Bridges settled for jump-shots rather than driving on the Duke 2-3 zone and getting downhill, when he’s at his best attacking the basket.

Michigan State Spartans freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. is pursued by Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen in the Champions Classic. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

“To be honest with you we haven’t faced a zone much, but give them credit, they played it the whole game,” Izzo said. “I thought if we could get a lead and get them out of that zone, then the advantage goes to us, but we couldn’t get a big enough lead.”

Cassius Winston and Josh Langford struggled tonight, combining for just 12 points on a 4-14 performance. Gavin Schilling was limited, playing just six minutes, largely in part to battling foul trouble throughout the game.

“Every time we cut it to a one-possession game, they’d hit a big shot or we’d have a turnover or a foul,” Winston said. “We just got to figure out a way to get through that and learn to step on team’s necks while we’re making a run.”

The Spartans were particularly sloppy with the basketball tonight, turning it over 17 times. Duke got out and ran on those turnovers, turning them into 19 points of their own. A Winston turnover late led to an odd-man breakout with freshman Javin DeLaurier capping the game with an emphatic slam.

“I thought poor substitution on my part led to some of our turnovers,” Izzo said. “I thought we looked a bit fatigued at times and some of our turnovers we threw right to their defense.”

With the loss, the Spartans drop to 1-1 on the season and will have five days to clean up some of their mistakes before they host the 0-2 Stony Brook Seawolves in the campus game of the PK80 Phil Knight  Invitational. BTN will have the game, with tipoff set for 3 p.m.



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