Duke men's basketball Player of the Week: Week 11

Grayson Allen

The stat line: 

Monday vs. Syracuse: 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, one rebound, one assist, one block and one steal in 38 minutes. 

Saturday at N.C. State: 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and seven assists in 34 minutes.

The good: Sophomore Grayson Allen notched a game-high 28 points in Duke’s 88-78 victory against N.C. State Saturday to put an end to a three-game losing streak against unranked conference foes. The guard from Jacksonville, Fla.—who has scored in double-digits in all but two of the team's games this season—posted six straight points in a 40-second span late in the second half, to cement the Blue Devil win. Allen also helped his teammates on the other end, grabbing six defensive rebounds and helping his team get out in transition. 

Just five days earlier, the guard's scoop shot with seven seconds to play could have given Duke the lead but fell of the rim and helped Syracuse pull off a two-point win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In that game, Allen scored nine consecutive points at the end of the first period—including a pair of triples—that gave his team a big momentum boost heading into halftime. With the sophomore rebounding from the tough loss with one of his best performances of the season, Allen showed his growth as both a player and leader for the team. 

The bad: Since senior forward Amile Jefferson went down with an injury, the Blue Devils have struggled rebounding on defense and Syracuse pounced on that weakness Monday. Allen ended the defeat against Syracuse with only one board and was not able to make the impact on the glass his team needed. 

Duke has also struggled with foul trouble this season, and the sophomore guard committed four personals for the third time in conference play Saturday. Allen was forced to sit for a few minutes against the Wolfpack after he committed his second personal foul in the first half with eight minutes to play.

The bottom line: Allen is delivering impressive scoring numbers in his second season as a Blue Devil, averaging 20.5 points per contest—the second best mark in the ACC. But the guard can still improve his defense and Duke need his athleticism to defend the rim better. The sophomore's seven rebounds against N.C. State—after totaling just three combined in three straight losses against Clemson, Notre Dame and Syracuse—could be a sign of things to come for Allen. 

The honorable mention: Graduate student Marhsall Plumlee had a standout performance against the Orange, posting a monster double-double with 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. The big man has stepped into a bigger leadership role in Duke’s frontcourt since Jefferson went down and is a key to the team's success in almost every game. Plumlee added 10 points—including a pair of big slams—and eight rebounds in the win against N.C. State. 

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