Irving Powers Duke Past Michigan St.

Kyrie Irving scored a game high 31 points to lead Duke to a five point win over Michigan State

DURHAM, N.C. – Freshman Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 31 points and No. 1 Duke beat No. 6 Michigan State 84-79 on Wednesday night in the marquee matchup of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Nolan Smith added 17 points and Kyle Singler scored 15 for the Blue Devils (7-0). They shot 47 percent, turned 20 Michigan State turnovers into 28 points, used a 12-2 spurt midway through the second half to take a double-figure lead and held off the Spartans down the stretch by hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the final 1:15.

Korie Lucious scored 20 points and Draymond Green added 10 of his 16 in the final minute for Michigan State (5-2). The Spartans shot 49 percent, were held to one field goal during a critical 7-minute stretch that coincided with Duke's run but otherwise hung tight with the reigning national champions.

The Spartans put a few of the Blue Devils' impressive winning streaks to the test. But ultimately, Duke found a way to win its 17th straight game dating to last season's national title run, claim its 23rd straight victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium and run its NCAA-best streak of nonconference wins at home to 81.

Mike Krzyzewski claimed the 875th victory of his Hall of Fame career to move one win behind Adolph Rupp, who's in third place on the all-time list.

But for much of the way, little came easy for Duke. Michigan State closed to 69-64 on Durrell Summers' dunk with 3½ minutes left before Singler stuck back Irving's miss. Mason Plumlee hit two free throws to push it to 73-64 with 2:22 left.

Plumlee finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Duke, which won the first meeting between the teams since the 2005 regional semifinals and hasn't lost in the regular season to the Spartans since 1958.

It was a tight one throughout, and the Blue Devils' only chance to get any separation came during Michigan State's drought midway through the half. Summers pulled the Spartans to 49-47 with a 3 with 14½ minutes left, but the next few minutes belonged to Duke.

Irving started the run with a free throw, and Singler hit two 3s during the burst — capping it with one in which he pump-faked Green in the corner, took one step left and swished it to make it 61-49 with 9:21 left.

Meanwhile, the Spartans — who entered averaging 17 turnovers — made the kinds of mistakes that usually prove problematic at Cameron. They turned it over six times during a stretch of eight possessions during Duke's run.

Kalin Lucas added 14 points and Summers finished with 11 for Michigan State, which always seems to draw a tough assignment in this made-for-TV event.

This was the second straight year they had to face the reigning national champion on its home court. North Carolina claimed an 89-82 victory last year against the Spartans, who trailed by 19. And a year earlier, Michigan State suffered a 35-point loss to the Tar Heels at Ford Field.

This time, Duke claimed this matchup of A-list coaches who have made a habit of advancing to the season's final weekend.

Tom Izzo has led Michigan State to a nation's-best six Final Fours and the 2000 national championship in 12 seasons in East Lansing, while Krzyzewski has reached the sport's biggest stage 11 times in more than three decades at Duke and claimed his fourth national championship in April.

The Spartans were the one team in Indianapolis that the Blue Devils didn't face. Duke beat West Virginia in the Final Four before holding on in the title game to beat upstart Butler, which had knocked off Michigan State in the semifinals. Next up for the Blue Devils: A championship-game rematch with Butler this weekend in East Rutherford, N.J.

Blue Devil Digest Top Stories