The crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium finally got energized when three straight 3-pointers sparked ...

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. Tennessee State

Duke withstood a surprising challenge from Tennessee State Monday after an eight-day exam break, trailing at one point in the second half before pulling away for a 65-55 win. With the victory in their final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium before ACC play, the Blue Devils will carry a 132-game nonconference home winning streak into next season.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Ease Giles in: In his much-anticipated college debut, freshman forward Harry Giles played only four minutes, recording no stats and missing the lone shot he took, a 12-foot jumper from the wing. The nation’s No. 1 recruit entered the game after the under-12 timeout in the first half to a raucous ovation, but was replaced by classmate Marques Bolden shortly afterward and did not return to the contest.
  • Keep Grayson hot: After posting a career-high 34 points in a dominant win against UNLV last week, Grayson Allen struggled to get going offensively against Tennessee State, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field and 1-of-6 from behind the arc. The junior guard consistently found his way to the free-throw line but was uncharacteristically cold, making only 7-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe.
  • Play tough despite rust: Duke came out cold against the Tigers, who kept the game close for 25 minutes and led 36-34 with 15:03 to play. Although the Blue Devils exploded for a 25-3 run after an Allen triple and a pair of Luke Kennard 3-pointers, Tennessee State kept up its energy for the entire contest, hounding Duke with man-to-man defense and attacking the Blue Devils with dribble penetration on the offensive end.

Three key stats:

  • Duke shoots 40 percent from 3-point range in the second half: After struggling to distance themselves from the Tigers in the first half, the Blue Devils came alive from downtown after the break. Kennard, Allen and freshman Jayson Tatum were all threats from deep in the second half and were instrumental in extending Duke’s lead.
  • Duke grabs 41 boards: The Blue Devils outrebounded Tennessee State 41-29 and outscored the Tigers 13-3 on second chance points, as graduate student Amile Jefferson led the way with a career-high 18 boards. The rebounding margin helped Duke overcome a relatively quiet night from the field and prevent the Tigers from building any momentum.
  • Tennessee State shoots 12.5 percent from the 3-point line: Although the Blue Devils struggled offensively for much of the game, they had more success with their perimeter defense, one of their biggest strengths all season. As a result, the Tigers were unable to get their offense going from behind the arc and could not make any big runs.

Three key plays:

  • 4:02 remaining, first half: Jefferson fed Allen an outlet pass with Duke down by two late in the first half. Allen then found Kennard at the top of the key, and the sophomore guard cut to the basket for a layup to tie the game.
  • 13:41 remaining, second half: Tatum grabbed a rebound and kicked to Allen on the perimeter in front of the Duke bench. Allen drained the fast-break triple to key a 25-3 run for the Blue Devils and give them the lead for good.
  • 7:26 remaining second half: With the Blue Devils leading by 17, Tatum shook his defender and pulled up for a 3-pointer to give Duke a 20-point lead and essentially seal the game for the Blue Devils. The freshman forward had 14 points on the night—with 12 of them coming in the second half—and was 2-for-6 from beyond the arc.

And the Duke game ball goes to.... Luke Kennard

The sophomore guard continued his breakout season with 24 points and was instrumental in Duke’s key run in the second half to put away the Tigers. Kennard was 3-of-5 from the perimeter and hit consecutive 3-pointers to spark the Blue Devils’ run and ignite a quiet Cameron crowd.

And the Tennessee State game ball goes to.... Tahjere McCall

McCall paced the Tigers with 14 points and added three rebounds and three assists to lead Tennessee State. The redshirt senior also provided a spark on defense, keying in on Kennard and Allen and helping the Tigers take an early second-half lead.

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