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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / November 21.
  • ‘Old Guy’ Grayson Allen Propels No. 1 Duke to Victory Over No. 2 Michigan State

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    By: MIKE McCURRY

    Grayson Allen may be the “old man” of this Duke team filled with freshmen lottery picks, but he led the way to victory on Tuesday.

    Allen finished with a career-high 37 points, leading his top-ranked Duke Blue Devils to a thrilling 88-81 win over No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic at United Center.

    Allen, who played all 40 minutes, matched a career-best by making seven three-pointers. His performance came on a night when Marvin Bagley III, the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, exited in the first half with an eye injury. Some 75 NBA personnel were expected for the game.

    “First off, I gotta be the leader as the only senior,” Allen told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. “I’ve played 90 more games than the four guys starting with me so I’ve got a little bit more experience. They call me the old guy on the team. So just leading them and making sure our group is playing together, because all the talent that we do have, when we put it together on a night like this, this shows how good we can be.”

    Without Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr., Trevon Duval, and Wendell Carter — Duke’s annual slew of freshmen studs and potential lottery picks — shot a combined 13-of-43 from the field (30 percent). That left it up to Allen, the lone senior on the roster, to take over. He did not disappoint.

    He beat the halftime buzzer for the second of those seven, nailing a 30-footer to give Duke a four-point lead at the break. Five triples later, Allen provided the dagger over a helpless Matt McQuaid.

    “It was a tough game, the whole 40 minutes,” Allen told Van Pelt. “Michigan State, they attacked us early and they got that lead. I thought our guys did a good job of fighting back.

    “That was a dogfight for 37 minutes.”

    With the win, Mike Krzyzewski improved to 11-1 when going head-to-head against Tom Izzo. Coach K has already had a big week, notching his 1,000th career win at Duke on Sunday over Utah Valley.

    Photo: @DukeMBB

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