Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

The Blue Devils started the game on a 20-3 run on their way to 94-45 rout of UNLV Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Grayson Allen poured in a career-high 34 points to help his team cruise to its eighth straight win.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Get Grayson going: With a career-high 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting and an especially efficient 6-of-9 performance from beyond the arc, Allen looked fully recovered from the toe injury that has plagued him in recent games. The junior guard demonstrated his full explosion and athleticism on multiple rim-rattling dunks.
  • Move the ball: The Blue Devils had 18 assists to 11 turnovers and four players in double figures in scoring, as the ball worked its way around both the frontcourt and the perimeter. Amile Jefferson led Duke with five assists and no turnovers.
  • Limit second opportunities: The Blue Devils outrebounded the Runnin’ Rebels by 11 and pulled down an impressive 31 defensive rebounds to limit UNLV's second chances. The Runnin Rebels' finished with just six second-chance points.

Three key stats:

  • UNLV shoots 29.6 percent from the field: Duke got the job done on the defensive end, as it forced the Runnin' Rebels to 16-of-54 shooting from the floor. Only one UNLV player was in double figures in scoring, and none could come up with more than five rebounds.
  • Duke shoots 45.5 percent from 3-point range: Allen, Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson all had good shooting days from beyond the arc as the team overcame an 0-for-4 performance from Matt Jones to have an efficient night from long range. After putting up big numbers in the last two games, Kennard had a more quiet 16 points on 2-of-5 shooting from deep.
  • 21 UNLV turnovers: The Runnin' Rebels failed to take care of the ball all day, with Duke picking their pockets to the tune of 10 steals. Many of the remaining giveaways came on a series of travels in the frontcourt, a call that was a point of emphasis for NCAA officials entering the season.

Three key plays: Read more »

MLB star Bryce Harper visits Duke men's basketball locker room following UNLV game

MLB star Bryce Harper visits Duke men's basketball locker room following UNLV game

Las Vegas is always a popular vacation spot for celebrities, and one of the biggest stars in baseball took in the Blue Devils' game against UNLV Saturday during his offseason trip there.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper sat courtside for Duke's 94-45 blowout win at T-Mobile Arena and visited the Blue Devils' locker room with his brother Bryan after the game to meet the team.

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Grayson Allen's career-high 34 points propelled the Blue Devils to a 94-45 win Saturday in Las Vegas against UNLV in their most complete game of the season to push their winning streak to eight games. The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar broke down what worked well for the Blue Devils from T-Mobile Arena after the game, and the topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:12—How Grayson Allen's first-half dunk highlighted his best game of the season and sparked Duke's 20-3 to open the game

0:47—Why the Blue Devils' practice the day before the game with its full complement of players translated well into Saturday

1:21—What made Duke's defense so effective against the Runnin' Rebels. Read more »

Halftime: Duke 42, UNLV 26

LAS VEGAS—Grayson Allen has struggled offensively this season, shooting just 35.7 percent as he battles through turf toe.

Unfortunately for UNLV, the junior looked healthy for Saturday's game.

Allen started 5-of-7 with 12 points as the No. 5 Blue Devils opened the game on a 20-3 run to immediately take control against the Runnin' Rebels at T-Mobile Arena. Duke finished the period with a 42-26 advantage, overwhelming UNLV with its aggressiveness on both ends of the court. 

Allen's soaring one-handed jam on a feed from Matt Jones sent the capacity crowd of 18,000 in the arena's first college basketball game ever into a frenzy, giving the Blue Devils a 16-3 advantage just 5:27 into the contest. The All-American finished the period with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting coming off a 2-of-10 performance Tuesday against Florida. Read more »

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Duke will look to extend its seven-game winning streak in Las Vegas this weekend for a matchup with UNLV Saturday at 5:15 p.m. The Runnin' Rebels have struggled to start the year and got blown out at Arizona State last Saturday to drop to 5-3. Here are three keys to success for the Blue Devils in Saturday's contest.

Get Grayson Going

Despite being named a preseason first-team All-American, Grayson Allen has struggled of late and could see a decrease in minutes to rest his injured toe soon if his play does not improve. The junior is shooting 35.7 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from beyond the arc, well below his 46.6 field-goal percentage from last season, when he also converted on more than 40 percent of his attempts from downtown. If Allen can get back on his game, Duke’s offense will begin to look even stronger as freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden are integrated into the mix.

Move the ball

During Tatum’s breakout performance with 22 points Tuesday night against No. 21 Florida, the Blue Devils’ offensive potential was on full display. Everyone on the team is a threat to score, spreading opposing defenses out and allowing Duke to pass the ball and find the open man anywhere on the floor. Allen embraced this role against the Gators, when he racked up eight assists rather than taking contested shots. The Blue Devils must continue to share the ball and create opportunities for all of their weapons in order to win big games down the stretch.

Limit Second Opportunities

Read more »

Recruiting roundup: 17 Duke football commits set to visit Durham this weekend

Recruiting roundup: 17 Duke football commits set to visit Durham this weekend

With the 2016 campaign in the books and the Blue Devils failing to make a bowl for the first time since 2011, head coach David Cutcliffe and his staff are busy on the recruiting trail. 

After a hot spring and summer that saw a number of commitments, Duke has mostly filled out its 2017 class with 21 commitments as signing day looms Feb. 1. But some late-November drama did play out regarding the quarterback position. The Blue Devils received a verbal commitment from four-star prospect Jack Sears back in August, but the San Clemente, Calif., native decommitted Nov. 13 and committed to USC instead.

This left a huge vacancy in the class, but it seems as if Duke's coaching staff had a backup plan. A day later, three-star prospect Chris Katrenick flipped his own verbal commitment to the Blue Devils from Bowling Green. Katrenick is ranked as the 45th-best pro-style passer in the 2017 class by 247Sports.com, but was not heavily recruited by Power 5 schools aside from Duke and Virginia.

Katrenick and 16 of the Blue Devils' other 2017 commits—including four-star defensive end Drew Jordan—are headed to Durham this weekend for official visits, according to 247Sports.com's Adam RoweRead more »

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Brian Pollack broke down how No. 5 Duke can extend its winning streak to eight when it travels to Las Vegas to play the first game ever in T-Mobile Arena against UNLV Saturday evening at 5:15. The game presents another opportunity to continue integrating freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden into the rotation before ACC play starts at the end of December. The topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:32—A discussion of UNLV's struggles so far this season with a couple of ugly losses

1:44—Why head coach Mike Krzyzewski could use this game as an opportunity to keep Marques Bolden on the floor for extended minutes

2:53—What makes the road trip particularly special for Las Vegas native Chase Jeter Read more »

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. UNLV

Duke will take its seven-game winning streak into Las Vegas Saturday for a matchup with UNLV at 5:15 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since the Blue Devils upset the undefeated Runnin' Rebels in the 1991 Final Four en route to their first national championship. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game:

Duke: Forward Jayson Tatum

After struggling to find a real rhythm but showing glimpses of big-time talent in his season debut against Maine, Tatum dazzled under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden Tuesday against Florida. The freshman played 29 minutes in just his second game back from a foot injury, scoring 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and adding eight rebounds.

It was another slow start for the five-star forward, but he turned in on late in the first half as his defense sparked a 15-3 Blue Devil run in the waning minutes of the first half. And in the second half, he drained a pair of smooth step-back jumpers to ignite a healthy Duke contingent in New York. The St. Louis native has still attempted just two 3-point attempts in his two games, and outside of sophomore guard Luke Kennard—who was 5-for-7 from long range against the Gators—the Blue Devils went just 2-of-10 on 3-pointers in their 84-74 win. Read more »

Stock watch: Amile Jefferson, Luke Kennard develop into rising stars for Duke men's basketball

Stock watch: Amile Jefferson, Luke Kennard develop into rising stars for Duke men's basketball

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has rung again, meaning it's time to take a look at who is rising and falling with their performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week, the Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the world of Duke athletics.

Bull Market—Trending Up

Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard: Going into the 2016-17 season, Duke's offense was expected to go through junior guard Grayson Allen and incoming freshmen Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles. Jefferson, a 6-foot-9 graduate student, and Kennard were expected to be role players on a talented Duke team.

But Allen has been inefficient and is playing hurt, Tatum is working his way into the lineup after a foot injury he suffered in October and Giles is rehabbing his knee and has yet to play a game. As a result, Jefferson and Kennard have taken on leading roles, contributing an average of 36.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game between the two of them, including Kennard’s 35-point outburst against Maine Saturday and Jefferson’s 24-point, 15-rebound performance against Florida in the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday night. Read more »

Duke in the NBA: Irving, Redick leading their teams to strong starts

Duke in the NBA: Irving, Redick leading their teams to strong starts

Kyrie Irving and Jabari Parker are putting up big numbers for their teams, while Justise WInslow waits to be cleared to play.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers:

Irving helped the Cavaliers end their three-game losing streak Monday night, scoring 24 points and picking up seven assists in a 116-112 win against the Toronto Raptors. The contest was his 10th consecutive 20-point performance, a mark he has reached in 18 of Cleveland's 20 games this season. He is also averaging 2.5 made 3-pointers per game, a career high for the point guard. Irving and the Cavaliers, who are atop the Eastern Conference right now, will continue to seek their second championship in as many years.

Irving also visited New York this week to play the Knicks Wednesday and sat courtside to watch Duke beat Florida in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. A day later, he put up 28 points in a 126-94 win and dished out six assists, one of which resulted in an alley-oop to LeBron James in transition. Read more »