Rushed Reactions: #1 Duke 88, #2 Michigan State 81

Posted by Walker Carey on November 14th, 2017

RTC is providing coverage of the Champions Classic in Chicago.

Three Key Takeaways.

Duke’s Grayson Allen Led the Blue Devils to a Marquee Victory (USA Today Images)

  1. This should be a game we all want to see again in San Antonio. While not always the most fundamentally sound contest, tonight’s clash between the Blue Devils and Spartans certainly lived up to the hype in terms of star power and excitement. Even though it was played in mid-November, it most certainly had a big game feel. Both the Duke and Michigan State fans that journeyed to the United Center for the showdown made their presence known throughout what was a hotly-contested affair. The only real bummer from the game was that Duke star freshman big man Marvin Bagley III left the game just prior to the 10-minute mark of the first half after taking an inadvertent poke to the eye from teammate Javin DeLaurier. Both squads feature many young contributors, so it is fair to assume they will each get better as the season progresses. At this point, it is difficult to argue that a Final Four or National Championship game between Duke and Michigan State would not once again be appointment viewing. These could be the best two teams in college basketball.
  2. Grayson Allen is once again going to be headline the news all season long. The player a majority of college basketball fans love to hate is back for his senior season — and, if tonight’s performance serves as any indication, that senior season is going to be rather noteworthy. While playing all 40 minutes, Allen led the Blue Devils to victory with a game-high 37 points (11-of-20 FG, 7-of-11 3FG) and came up with big shot after big shot down the stretch when his team needed them most. After a junior year that was marred by another tripping controversy, some nagging injuries and overall inconsistent play, the senior guard is beginning this season by letting his play garner the headlines. Considering Duke’s otherwise young roster, it would be beneficial for Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils if that trend continues throughout the season.
  3. Even in defeat, Michigan State can still take away some positives. The Spartans are certainly disappointed by tonight’s result, but disappointment should not be the only thing they take from this evening’s defeat. Even though he struggled to get in the lane for much of the night against Duke’s size and length, star sophomore Miles Bridges still finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Michigan State also received a lift from its interior, as both freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. and sophomore Nick Ward battled valiantly with Duke’s frontcourt all night. Jackson finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while showcasing the reasons why he is considered an elite NBA prospect. Ward also chipped in 19 points while using his wide frame to force Duke’s young front line into some foul trouble. A loss is a loss, but this was one that left the Spartans with things they can build upon moving forward.

Stars of the Game. Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval, Duke. Allen was the best player on the floor all night long, finishing with 37 points and hitting 7-of-11 from deep. He is Duke’s senior leader and that was fully evident whenever the Blue Devils needed someone to come up with a big play. Duval shined in a way that is not often seen from freshmen point guards in the early season, finishing with 17 points, 10 assists and six steals. For it only being the third game of the season, it was very impressive to see the chemistry that has already been formed between the freshman Duval and the senior Allen in the backcourt.


  • “I felt like I was sort of hot from three.” – Duke guard Grayson Allen, responding to a question regarding what was working for him offensively.
  • “We kept calling plays for him. It felt like I was coaching [JJ] Redick.” – Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, acknowledging the standout performance from his senior guard.
  • “Not many people have beaten him and not many people have beaten me. You do not get a banner for beating one school or coach. It is an honor to play Tom’s program.” – Krzyzewski, refusing to accept praise for moving his career record to 11-1 against Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
  • “I am sick of holding my own. I give them credit. They have got a good team. My team played OK. I don’t know who Mike thinks they played, but I do not think my team played great and we were right in the game.” – Izzo, expressing frustration with his team fighting hard yet coming up short.

Sights and Sounds. Though it came up short on the scoreboard tonight, Michigan State had a slight advantage in fans that made the trip to the United Center. This was obvious when their patented “Go Green! Go White!” chant would pick up steam during any Spartans’ run. It was also quite interesting (but not all that surprising) to see both Kansas and Kentucky fans who arrived early join the Michigan State crowd in rooting against Duke.

What’s Next. Michigan State will try to get back on the winning track when it hosts Stony Brook in East Lansing on Sunday. Duke returns to the hardwood Friday night when it hosts Southern University at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

WCarey (318 Posts)

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