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 »

This week in Duke history: 'Blue Angels' program matches football recruits with female hosts

This week in Duke history: 'Blue Angels' program matches football recruits with female hosts

Louisville may have made national headlines last fall with the NCAA’s investigation into its alleged hiring of prostitutes for basketball recruits—but it comes out of a milder, albeit potentially related tradition.

The Chronicle reported Dec. 2, 1988, on Duke’s “Blue Angels” program for recruits. Like many southern schools in college football, the Blue Devils would attract recruits on their visits by assigning them a female student to show them around.

Almost all the interactions between the females and the recruits were monitored, but it did not stop the speculation. In fact, many at Duke, including then- and current-dean of student life Sue Wasiolek, did not know such a program existed.

"I would have to say, from the outside looking in, and not being very familiar with the program, that it does allow one to draw the conclusion that it it is a sexist organization and that it promotes sexist ideas,” Wasiolek said at the time. Read more »

Tatum and Jefferson star against Florida after attending funerals for loved ones

Tatum and Jefferson star against Florida after attending funerals for loved ones

NEW YORK—Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski has been adamant following recent games that his team does not practice very much.

Whether it is sophomore Grayson Allen dealing with turf toe, Frank Jackson battling a sore foot of his own or Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden shaking off the rust, Duke has struggled finding enough bodies to hold practice.

But a pair of Duke’s best performers Tuesday were not at the team’s practice a day earlier for a different reason altogether.

“Yesterday, both Amile and Jayson were not with us. We had no practice yesterday with them because they were both at funerals for their loved ones,” Krzyzewski said. “Amile’s grandmother who helped raise him passed away and they had a funeral in Philadelphia. Jayson was in St. Louis for the funeral of his great-grandmother. For those kids to come back, we just haven’t practiced very much with injuries and all this.” Read more »

Duke AD Kevin White no longer enemies with son, Florida head coach Mike, after Jimmy V Classic

Duke AD Kevin White no longer enemies with son, Florida head coach Mike, after Jimmy V Classic

NEW YORK—Once the Gators wrapped up a 91-60 win against North Florida Thursday, Florida head coach Mike White knew that the next few days would bring a range of emotions to the table.

After 11 minutes of fielding the media’s questions following an 84-74 loss to No. 5 Duke Tuesday, White embraced his parents—Kevin and Jane White—with a giant hug, knowing that their time spent as opponents had ended.

“Heck, last night I would’ve loved to join them for dinner,” Mike White said. “I’m not sure dad would’ve invited me, as we’ve been enemies here for the last 48 hours. We haven’t spoken in the last couple days so I’ll be anxious to get 60 seconds with them before we all head back to the hotel.”

In the teams’ first matchup since 2000, the White family subplot was an intriguing link between programs that do not see each other on the court very often.  Read more »