Duke men's basketball Player of the Week: Week 13

Grayson Allen

The statline: 

Tuesday vs. Georgia Tech: 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal in 37 minutes. 

Saturday vs. N.C. State: 28 points on 6-of-11 shooting, four assists, one rebounds in 39 minutes.

The good: In his second year in a Duke uniform, sophomore Grayson Allen is registering monster scoring numbers, averaging 20.9 points per game—the second best mark in the ACC.

In Duke’s 80-71 victory against Georgia Tech Tuesday, the guard scored a game-high 27 points and showed his ability to heat up from beyond the arc where he hit seven of his 10 attempts. In a six-minute span early in the first period, the sophomore guard knocked down three early 3-pointers to give Duke a 20-18 lead and posted nine of the team's first 11 points coming out of halftime to help the team retake the lead. 

Four days later, Allen propelled the Blue Devils to beat in-state foe N.C. State 88-80 with a game-high 28 points and a perfect 12-of-12 shooting from the charity stripe. The Wolfpack managed to trim Duke’s 10-point lead and tie the game five minutes into the second half, but Allen hit a 3-pointer that began a 15-2 run for the team and helped them come away with the win. 

The bad: Since senior Amile Jefferson was lost to injury Dec. 5, the Blue Devils have been struggling with foul trouble against aggressive offenses. Allen committed his fifth personal foul in the last 42 seconds of the game against the Yellow Jackets and although his absence did not pose a threat to Duke’s win, the sophomore will have to be more diligent on the defensive end of the court with a gauntlet of talented guards coming up in the next four games. 

The bottom line: Duke did not start the week on a very promising note—as they were unranked for the first time since the 2007-08 season and faced Georgia Tech without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was in the hospital. But Allen stepped up and continued his strong season by delivering in a big way. The sophomore guard has scored in double-digits in all but two games this season and has notched at least 17 points in 12 straight contests. One of the knocks on Allen has been his performances against bigger opponents this season. The Jacksonville, Fla., native will need to prove the doubters wrong by being at his best in upcoming home contests against Louisville, Virginia and North Carolina.

The honorable mention: Freshman guard Luke Kennard posted 26 points off the bench against the Wolfpack, including six triples. The Franklin, Ohio native—who is averaging 12.5 points per game and shooting 32 percent from beyond the arc—knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers in the first half to extend the Blue Devil lead to eight points. Kennard hit three more long-range shots in the final 20 minutes and helped propel the Duke offense to one of its best showings in recent weeks. 

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