Duke men's basketball Player of the Week: Week 15

Grayson Allen

The statline:

Wednesday at No. 5 North Carolina: 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting, seven rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes

Saturday at No. 18 Louisville: 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting, three assists, one rebound and one steal in 36 minutes.

The good: Against all odds, the Blue Devils pulled off a 74-73 victory against the rival Tar Heels Wednesday. With junior guard Matt Jones exiting the game at the 7:43 mark in the first half due to a sprained ankle, Allen stepped up and played the entire game, posting a team-high 23 points and displaying his willingness to get to the basket. The sophomore was in attack mode throughout the game and went 8-of-10 from the line, including a clutch pair at the charity stripe with 1:09 to play to give his team the lead for good. 

In the 71-64 loss against No. 18 Louisville, Allen was the only Blue Devil to score in double-digits and knocked down five triples before fouling out in the second half with his game-high 29 points. The guard has scored at least 14 points in all but two of Duke’s contests this season and is the second-highest scorer in the ACC. 

The bad: Duke entered Saturday’s contest already short-handed due to Jones’ injury and frustration soon left the Blue Devils without Allen as well. The Cardinals' tenacious full-court press led Allen to lose his temper after he picked up his fifth personal foul with 3:55 left in the game. The sophomore was then hit with a technical after arguing the call. Allen's foul trouble left the Blue Devils without a go-to scorer and with only five rotation players for the rest of the game.  

The bottom line: Game after game, Allen proves that he has become a lethal scorer this season, and his average of 21.0 points per contest shows just that. As injuries have mercilessly plagued the Blue Devil squad this season, Allen has stepped up as a leader and been more vocal and emotional on the floor. Duke’s top-scorer has shined in the biggest stages but will need to learn to keep his cool better going forward when emotions escalate in the toughest of games with a lot more on the line. 

The honorable mention: In his first career game against North Carolina, Brandon Ingram delivered a monster double-double, notching 20 points and grabbing 10 boards. The Kinston, N.C., native posted six consecutive points in a variety of ways at one point in the second half, trimming the Tar Heel lead to just two points. With graduate student Marshall Plumlee in foul trouble for much of the second half, Ingram also helped his teammates on the defensive end of the court as well.

The swingman could not repeat his impressive scoring numbers against the Cardinals Saturday likely due to the accumulated fatigue of the Blue Devils’ four-game stretch against ranked teams. Ingram only scored eight points—six of which came from behind the arc in the opening minutes of the game—and committed a career-high 10 turnovers. The freshman seemed to have trouble all afternoon against Louisville's physical, full-court press. 

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