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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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Saturday / June 24.
  • No. 8 Duke Hangs 110 on Georgia Tech in Coach K’s Last Game Pre-Surgery

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    By MIKE McCURRY

    Grayson Allen’s indefinite suspension wound up lasting just one game, or about as long as Duke’s struggles did.

    Allen was confined to the sidelines for Duke’s ACC-opening loss to Virginia Tech over the weekend following another tripping controversy, his third since February.

    But on Wednesday, in the Blue Devils’ 110-57 blowout victory over Georgia Tech, the preseason All-American was already back on the court, submitting a line of 15 points, 7 assists, and just 1 turnover.

    Duke accomplished two primary objectives in its dissection of a Yellow Jackets team that inexplicably upset UNC on Saturday.

    First, Duke cracked the league record books, as the 53-point margin-of-victory was the most violent ACC-on-ACC crime since 1965.

    Secondly, Duke is finally playing with the rotation that Mike Krzyzewski envisioned back in the preseason, aided by the fact that freshman Harry Giles (10 points, 12 rebounds) is progressively getting his legs back underneath him.

    “The group we had is more like what we wanted to do from October, but we’re doing it now in January,” Coach K said afterward.

    “It was the end of us patch-working our team.”

    Seven Blue Devils scored in double-figures on Wednesday, the first game in which the dreamy starting lineup of Allen/Luke Kennard/Jayson Tatum/Amile Jefferson/Giles was unveiled.

    “It was our most unselfish game,” said Kennard, who scored 13 of Duke’s first 29 points before finishing with 16–all in the first half. “It’s just really fun to play like that and that’s what happens–we get big wins.”

    The sudden cohesion could not come at a better time for Duke, who now must tread water and sustain a high level of play without Krzyzewski, who is scheduled to undergo back surgery on Friday and miss about a month.

    It’s not an enviable task for interim coach Jeff Capel, who has to temporarily replace a legend.

    But with Giles showing flashes, Kennard routinely performing like an All-American, complementary pieces adjusting to new roles, and Allen again leading the way, it could be a lot worse.

    Photo: The Durham Herald-Sun

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