Kennard paces Duke to 90-59 win over Virginia State in exhibition game

Krzyzewski speaks about opening game against Virginia State

Blue Devils dismantle Division II Trojans 90-59 in pre-season exhibition game
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Blue Devils dismantle Division II Trojans 90-59 in pre-season exhibition game

Grayson Allen helped shoulder Duke’s 90-59 win over Virginia State in Friday’s exhibition game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in more ways than one.

While on defense, Duke’s junior All-American appeared to take a hit to his shoulder. He held it briefly before taking a seat on the next timeout to be examined.

The pain was short-lived.

Allen’s first shot when he returned to the game about 7 minutes later was a momentum-clinching 3-pointer to help Duke break through a stubborn 10-point lead. His shot was followed by a Luke Kennard basket to give the Blue Devils a 35-18 lead. When Allen couldn’t find a shot, he saw Kennard open in the corner and shot him a cross-court pass.

Virginia State’s Matt Murphy, a 6-foot-8, 330-pound center, sank a triple to break up Duke’s mini run only to be answered by an Allen 3 to keep the flow going. During Duke’s second-half strike, Allen dunked on a fastbreak and took a seat, clutching his stomach after he landed on it.

“He’s a hell of an athlete,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He’s getting knocked to the floor too much, and I’m not saying they’re all fouls. That wears on him. I’m going to watch some tape with him and look at those moves.”

At the break, Duke led a 42-27. Kennard was the only player with 20 minutes. He didn’t come out of the game until 10:48 in the second half, returning about a minute later after a quick breather.

He led the game with 30 points and 36 minutes, getting six of Duke’s 27 defensive rebounds.

“Luke was outstanding,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s how Luke’s been playing.”

The veterans complemented a star freshman class that played without two five-star players: Harry Giles, who is recovering from a knee scope, and Jayson Tatum, who sprained his left foot and will be out about two weeks.

Marques Bolden, who posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, was the lone freshman to start, playing in spurts primarily along with Frank Jackson, who had 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Javin DeLaurier, though Jack White picked up 12 minutes.

Bolden’s first few minutes were jittery, having a turnover and personal foul in his first four minutes. He finished strong, especially after halftime, when the Devils built a big lead against a pesky Virginia State team. The Trojans, held to 33.3 percent shooting Friday, finished 25-6 last year and were overwhelming favorites to win the CIAA, like Duke was picked to win the ACC.

Duke gained a 58-35 lead midway through the second half behind Bolden’s awareness inside. The 6-11 freshman, who drew the double- and triple-team all night, was swarmed by Trojans and found DeLaurier for the finish.

The Blue Devils dominated the defensive glass and scored 24 points off turnovers.

“In the second half, I thought we played very well defensively,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke guard Grayson Allen talks about having big man Amile Jefferson bringing the ball up for the Blue Devils.

Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan

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