Grayson Allen scored a career-high 30 points in Friday’s 2K Classic nightcap as Duke defeated VCU 79-71. Duke got VCU’s best yesterday as the Rams led for a majority of the first half.
Duke was trailing nearly for 15 straight minutes and by as much as seven until Matt Jones hit his first of two big second-half 3-balls with 12:26 left in the game, putting Duke up 53-52. It was an Allen three-pointer off of a VCU turnover with 6:23 left that gave Duke it’s first double-digit lead at 68-58. The Blue Devils didn’t look back from there, controlling the remainder of the game, despite missing several free throws down the stretch.
Allen, who came off the bench for the first time this season, was 9-15 from the floor and 4-8 from deep while grabbing six rebounds and and dishing out 3 assists. After the game Coach Mike Krzyzewski said of his new emerging star, “The response that Grayson had from Kentucky was huge. I think it was spectacular to be quite frank with you.”
He discussed Allen’s play in the Kentucky loss saying, “That was his first big time start, it’s not like Grayson is this combat veteran.”
Duke also got a huge lift out of freshman guard Derryck Thornton who scored 19 on 7-11 shooting. Coach K said, “That Kid had a hell of a game, I thought he was terrific.” Krzyzewski praised Thornton’s defensive effort defending the “quick” JeQuan Lewis.
Coach K also sang the praises of VCU, saying, “We didn’t beat a team, we beat a program. They have a program at VCU and that’s tougher than a team.” The loss was the first of the season for VCU.
Guard Melvin Johnson was extremely impressive scoring 20 points while knocking down 4 of his 6 triples. VCU shot 58 percent in the first half, but struggled mightily in the second half at just 34 percent.
The Blue Devils will take on Georgetown on Sunday in the 2K Classic Championship Game.