Grayson Allen could not be stopped. The most hate-able player in college basketball dropped 37 points over a terrific Tom Izzo team. He calmly hit shot after shot over the hands of Michigan State defenders.
Allen took over the role of being Duke’s number one option after freshman phenom Marvin Bagley was taken out of the game after being poked in the eye. Even without Bagley, Duke imposed its will on the glass, getting 17 second chance points on 25 offensive rebounds. Freshman Wendell Carter was solid putting up a double double and Marques Bolden stepped in well for the injured Bagley. Additionally, Trevon Duval impressed with 17 points and 8 assists. Many of Grayson Allen points could be attributed to Duval’s smart and composed command of the Duke offense.
For NBA scouts looking to see Miles Bridges, there might have been disappointment to see Duke play zone the whole game, doubling Bridges every time he got inside the arc. Yet Duke’s 3-2 zone paid off, creating 15 turnovers and easy points for the Blue Devils.
Miles Bridges disappointed, failing to take over the game after the zone made him more of a perimeter shooter than the aggressive slasher we saw him as last year.
Overall, Duke impressed in its first legitimate test of the season, solidifying their number one status against a very strong MSU squad. A squad of four freshman starters meshed surprisingly well this early in the season and Grayson Allen puts himself into the Player of the Year conversation with a magnificent performance reminiscent of his sophomore self before his junior season slump. Even without the potential number one draft pick, Duke showed they were able to outplay one of the best teams in the country, and it’s only scary to think about what they’ll be like with Bagley back. Expect Duke to sit at number one in the country for a while.
For Michigan State, there is some disappointment in the result of the game, but in the long run, the game was a great learning experience for a pretty young team. Jaren Jackson stepped up big time, showing his value to NBA scouts and Tom Izzo as he canned threes, showed his length and became a very good offensive option for the Spartans as the game developed. Tom Izzo always schedules tough non-conference games; this game is just a learning experience for the team to grow. Miles Bridges should be able to look at this game and recognize he has to become more aggressive but smart in bigger games. Expect the Spartans to be miles better come March.