Playing at home for the first time in 19 days provided the Blue Devils a much needed lift against NC State, and so did strong guard play. Duke got a combined 54 points from Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard to beat the Wolfpack, 88-80.
Grayson Allen scored a game high 28 points on just 11 field goal attempts while Luke Kennard added 26 as Duke held off NC State and Anthony Barber 88-80 on Saturday afternoon.
After struggling against Georgia Tech in his last game, Kennard bounced back in a big way. The freshman hit six three pointers to help Duke move to 17-6 overall and 6-4 in ACC play, while also welcoming back head coach Mike Krzyzewski after the Duke coach missed the trip to Atlanta while dealing with illness.
Collectively the Blue Devils hit 14 of 28 attempts from long range which helped overcome a deficit on the glass as NC State out-rebounded Duke 38-29 and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. Those advantages allowed the Wolfpack to stay within striking distance throughout the afternoon and the NC State defense limited Duke to prolonged field goal droughts.
The Wolfpack closed to within three with just over three minutes remaining when Barber drove through the Duke defense for a layup to make it 79-76.
But Duke’s Brandon Ingram would spearhead a five point play on the next possession by getting fouled on a three and hitting the first two free throws. Ingram would miss the third, but tipped his own rebound out to Luke Kennard who grabbed the rebound. After recycling the offense, Ingram drove into the lane and found Allen on the wing for a three pinter to make it an eight point game. NC State would get not closer.
Allen’s shot was the first Duke field goal in nearly eight minutes, illustrating the NC State defensive effort in the second half. And though the couldn’t find the range from the field, Duke kept attacking the rim and ended up with 32 free throw attempts, making 24 of them.
Barber finished with 26 points for the Wolfpack. Ingram added 14 points and seven rebounds for Duke.