Final Four star Allen scores 26, No. 5 Duke tops Siena 92-74
Nov. 14, 2015
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Grayson Allen picked up right where he left off.
The breakout star of Duke's Final Four run scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half to lead the fifth-ranked Blue Devils past Siena 92-74 on Friday night in the first round of the 2K Classic.
"I'm not saying he can do that every game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "but that shouldn't be a surprise."
Amile Jefferson matched a career high with 19 points and added 12 rebounds to help the Blue Devils open their latest reign as national champions with a lopsided victory.
Freshman Brandon Ingram had 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting in his college debut for Duke while Matt Jones added 10.
The Blue Devils shot 45.5 percent, forced 17 turnovers, trailed for just 10 seconds early and never allowed Siena to get closer than 17 in the second half.
Marquis Wright had 20 points for Siena.
Allen — whose hustle Krzyzewski has often credited for sparking the title-game victory over Wisconsin — put on a one-man show in the opener.
He hit 8 of 13 shots with most coming on aggressive moves to the rim while threatening the high of 27 points he set in his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium — a rout of Wake Forest in the 2014-15 home finale.
"That's something that I'm always going to look to do, is attack," Allen said. "Tonight I was given open lanes to get all the way to the rim."
Aside from Allen and Jefferson, these Blue Devils hardly resemble the group that cut the nets down in Indianapolis seven months ago.
Duke lost 76 percent of its scoring and 68 percent of its rebounding from that team, which was carried by three freshmen-turned-first-round picks — most notably 6-foot-11 Jahlil Okafor, now of the Philadelphia 76ers.
They don't have that kind of dominant big man this year, so the Blue Devils — who still have seven McDonald's All-Americans on the roster, the most in the nation — are counting on their perimeter to carry them.
"If you think I wanted Okafor and those guys, the answer was no," Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said with a smile. "I could adjust to the film without those three."
Some spotty outside shooting — they missed 12 of their first 15 attempts from 3-point range — was balanced by that steady diet of drives from Allen, the only member of that freshman class who didn't turn pro early.
His best might have come midway through the first half, when he grabbed Javion Ogunyemi's missed layup, took it coast to coast and finished with a swooping one-handed dunk.
"We wanted to drive the ball," Krzyzewski said, "and Grayson was spectacular driving."
Siena is the first team since at least 1985 to open the season against both the defending NCAA Tournament champion and runner-up. The Saints visit No. 17 Wisconsin on Sunday night looking for the first road win against a Top 25 opponent since moving to Division I in 1976.
Siena: The Saints have a couple of ties to the North Carolina Triangle with them. Sophomore G Cameron Gottfried is the son of N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried. Director of basketball operations Ben Asher was on the Wolfpack's staff last year.
Duke: The Blue Devils extended their nonconference winning streak at Cameron to 117. They haven't lost to a non-ACC team here since 2000 (St. John's).
Siena is at No. 17 Wisconsin on Sunday night.
Duke hosts Bryant on Saturday night.
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