Allen

Grayson Allen sparked the Blue Devils offense early, scoring 17 points in the first half.

Beyond the arc: Duke rides Allen, strong defense to its biggest road win of the season



After falling to North Carolina, No. 12 Duke has now rattled off three straight wins with a 66-57 victory at No. 11 Clemson Sunday. The Blue Zone gives three key takeaways and stats from the win and looks forward for the Blue Devils: 

Three key takeaways: 

1. Duke can handle playing on the road 

Heading into Sunday’s contest, there were serious questions as to whether Duke could handle playing on the road. The Blue Devils looked rattled after consecutive road losses to St. John’s and North Carolina, but they stepped up in a hostile environment against the Tigers. 

Duke had every chance to fold late—it squandered a 10-point lead, leaving it facing a tie at the two-minute mark. But the young Blue Devils stood tall, finishing the game on a 9-0 run to come away victorious even with the crowd roaring at Littlejohn Coliseum. Duke has just one regular season road game left, at Virginia Tech Feb. 26. 

2. Blue Devil defense is for real 

Ever since Duke transitioned to a matchup zone defense Wednesday against Virginia Tech, it has looked like an entirely different unit. The Blue Devils have allowed an average of under 55 points per game against two strong offensive teams in the Hokies and Tigers. 

Certainly, Duke’s scoring has gone down as well, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski must be thrilled about the turnaround his once-shoddy defense has undergone. The Blue Devils will have to keep up this pace if they want to have a chance to make a deep run in March. 

3. Duke can win without Bagley

With Marvin Bagley III on the floor this season in conference play, Duke has given up nearly 74 points per game on average. In the last three games without him, the Blue Devils have yielded fewer than 60 per game. Certainly, the offense has taken a dip, dropping about 10 points per game, but Duke has netted four points per game better without him. 

The Blue Devils have been playing a different style on offense, allowing more space on the floor for Grayson Allen to work and get out of his slumber. Although Bagley being out might not be what Duke fans want, so far, it has produced better results for Duke. 

Three key stats: 

1. 22-of-26 from the line

Duke got to the line early and often, and didn’t squander its opportunities. Despite struggling at times from the charity stripe this season, Blue Devils missed just four free throws. Gary Trent Jr. nailed three in a row in the closing minutes to seal the deal. 

2. 19 points from Allen

With Bagley off the floor, Allen has had more room to operate as an offensive threat, and he has certainly cashed in on that opportunity. Although he was quiet in the second half, he finished the game with 19 points to lead Duke. 

3. Marcquise Reed shoots 3-of-14 from the floor

Duke came into Sunday knowing it would need to shut down Reed, and it did just that. The Tigers' leading scorer finished just 3-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-6 from deep. As a team, Clemson shot just 25 percent from the floor. 

Looking forward:

This can only be seen as one of the biggest wins of the year for Duke. 

Even without Bagley, it overcame its road demons and locked in on defense. The Blue Devils are at the best position they have been in all season: in control on both sides of the floor. A sweep of the rest of the regular season schedule could very well be in store. 


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