Duke men's basketball Player of the Week: Week 16

Grayson Allen

The statline:

Thursday vs. Florida State: 18 points on 7-of-20 shooting, five assists, three rebounds and three steals in 40 minutes.

Sunday at Pittsburgh: 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 38 minutes.

The good: Grayson Allen continues to put up standout scoring numbers this season and has scored at least 14 points in all but two of Duke’s 29 contests. In the team's 80-65 rout against Florida State Thursday, the sophomore guard registered a game-high 19 points, knocking down two consecutive triples early in the first half and hitting another one with 7:05 remaining in the game to extend the Blue Devil lead to 70-52. 

Despite his team's 76-62 lopsided defeat against Pittsburgh three days later, Allen was the game’s top-scorer once again, adding three more 3-pointers and hitting 7-of-8 shots from the line. The sophomore scored 10 second-half points and helped trim the Panthers’ lead to 11 points in the second half. But Pittsburgh's intensity and extra effort proved to be insurmountable for the Blue Devils, who dropped their fourth game against an unranked ACC foe this season. 

The bad: The Jacksonville, Fla., native was criticized nationwide this week after tripping Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the contest between the Blue Devils and Seminoles was coming to an end. It was not the first time that the sophomore’s foot was caught in the wrong spot as Allen was charged with a flagrant foul after sticking his leg out and tripping Louisville’s Ray Spalding in a 72-65 home victory against the Cardinals Feb. 8.

After the contest against Florida State, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzweski apologized to the league and Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. Meanwhile, Allen received a verbal reprimand from the conference and attracted more scrutiny in the media. 

The bottom line: Allen has shown his relentless drive in the biggest stages throughout his two seasons as a Blue Devil. Week after week, the guard continues to deliver impressive and decisive performances for the defending national champions and Allen's play has risen to another level this season with a scoring average of 20.9 points per contest—the second best mark in the ACC.

But from time to time, Allen has displayed behaviors that damage his and his team’s public image. In addition to two tripping incidents, the guard picked up a technical foul a week ago against Louisville after being fouled out. Allen will need to keep his cool in the toughest moments in March if Duke hopes to advance far in the NCAA tournament. 

The honorable mention: In his first season wearing a Duke uniform, freshman Brandon Ingram has made an immediate impact in the Blue Devil offense, averaging 17.0 points per game. Against the Seminoles, the forward hit a pair of triples and was almost perfect from the charity stripe. 

In the upset loss against the Panthers, Ingram posted 17 points—with 13 of them coming in the first half—but then found himself in foul trouble when he picked up a fourth personal with 9:39 remaining in the game. The Kinston, N.C. native's impact was severely diminished after that point as Duke fell behind by as many as 20 with Ingram on the sidelines. 

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