Duke men's basketball Player of the Week: ACC Tournament

Grayson Allen

The statline:

Wednesday vs. N.C. State: 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting, six assists, two rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes.

Thursday vs. Notre Dame: 27 points on 7-of-21 shooting, four rebounds, four steals and three assists in 44 minutes.

The good: After receiving first team All-ACC accolades, Allen showed his ability to thrive in attack-mode despite the Blue Devils’ short run in the ACC tournament. The Jacksonville, Fla., native totaled 46 points in the two games despite just shooting 37 percent from the floor. In a 92-89 thriller against N.C. State, Allen hit two shots from downtown in a three-minute span to extend Duke’s lead to 84-75 with 6:15 to play. Although his freshmen teammates Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard outscored him Wednesday, the sophomore guard managed to facilitate buckets for Duke, ending the game with a team-high six assists.

In his team's 84-79 overtime loss against fourth-seeded Notre Dame, Allen scored six of the nine Blue Devil points in overtime and finished the contest with a game-high 27 points. The sophomore was perfect from the charity stripe—converting all eight of his attempts—and helped on the defensive end of the court with four big steals that allowed Duke to jump out to a big lead midway through the second half. 

The bad: The Fighting Irish held the Blue Devils scoreless for seven and a half minutes in the second half and rallied from a 16-point deficit to win the game. In those minutes, Allen and his teammates displayed the accumulated fatigue from the victory against the Wolfpack and as a result, the guard appeared to settle for too many perimeter jumpers. Allen hit just five of his season-high 15 attempts from beyond the arc in the game and struggled to find any type of rhythm all afternoon. With his team mired in a long scoreless drought in the second half, the guard couldn't save Duke on isolation sets down the stretch. 

The bottom line: With one full week to recover following the ACC tournament, the fourth-seeded Blue Devils start the Big Dance with a game against No. 13 seed UNC Wilmington Thursday in Providence, R.I. Allen enters the tourney averaging 21.6 points per contest—the second-best mark in the ACC—and having scored in double-digits in all but two games this season. If head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad wants to make a deep run in the tournament this year, Allen will need to shine on the biggest of stages, much like he did last season when he put in 16 points in Duke's championship victory against Wisconsin. 

The honorable mention: In his first season wearing a Duke uniform, rookie Brandon Ingram has made an immediate impact on offense and averaged 16.8 points per contest this season. The swingman—who was named ACC Freshman of the Year thanks to his production in conference play—converted five triples against the Wolfpack and finished the game with 22 points. One day later, Ingram registered 16 points against the Fighting Irish on a tough 5-of-16 shooting from the floor. In what could be the freshman's final days in a Blue Devil uniform, the Kinston, N.C., native will look to lead his team Thursday against the Seahawks. 

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.