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Duke basketball to play UNLV at new Las Vegas arena in December

Duke is slated to play UNLV in Las Vegas Dec. 10 at the new T-Mobile Arena, which was constructed by MGM Resorts International and will open next week. The game will be the first meeting between the two programs since the Blue Devils knocked off the undefeated Runnin' Rebels at the Final Four in 1991 en route to head coach Mike Krzyzewski's first national championship.

A game in Las Vegas would be a homecoming for rising sophomore Chase Jeter—who attended Bishop Gorman High School—and a homecoming of sorts for rising sophomore Derryck Thornton, who grew up in Chatsworth, Calif., but attended Findlay Prep just outside of Las Vegas.

The teams had been reportedly considering the game as early as November 2014, and the game seems to be ready to go.

A Duke team spokesperson confirmed that the teams are scheduled to play, though the event has not yet appeared on the arena's listing of upcoming events.

The Blue Devils' season ended March 24 in the Sweet 16 at the hands of top-seeded Oregon in Anaheim, Calif. The December game will be Duke's first regular-season trip west of the Mississippi River since 2011, when the Blue Devils won the EA Sports Maui Invitational on a dramatic 3-pointer by Tyler Thornton.

Duke nearly met the Runnin' Rebels in 2014-15 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., but UNLV fell to Stanford and the Blue Devils bested Temple in the semifinals.

Since then, much has changed for the Runnin' Rebels, who fired head coach Dave Rice in the middle of last season after a slow start and finished 18-15 and 8-10 in the Mountain West. UNLV hired Chris Beard—who led Arkansas Little-Rock to a 30-win season and first-round upset of fifth-seeded Purdue—as its next head coach March 28 after just one year at the helm of the Trojans.

Rising sophomore Stephen Zimmerman—a 7-foot center and a high school teammate of Jeter's—announced this week that he will enter the NBA draft. Patrick McCaw and Derrick Jones Jr. would be the only two remaining double-digit scorers from the Runnin' Rebels' 2015-16 squad.


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