Duke’s Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram too much for NC State

RALEIGH, N.C. — Winter Storm Jonas has dumped snow and ice that has brought team buses to a halt on the highway and forced games to be rescheduled, but Saturday’s game between Duke and NC State was not altered, much to the chagrin of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.

North Carolina’s had a state of emergency in effect, but fans trekked through the ice and packed most of the lower bowl in PNC Arena.

For Duke, entering the contest on a three-game skid, the situation was much too urgent to allow the conditions to affect their efforts to get back to winning in conference play. Grayson Allen (28 points, seven rebounds, seven assists), in particular, would not be denied early, and freshman star Brandon Ingram (25 points, seven rebounds) helped the Blue Devils take control of the game late in a 88-78 win.

Allen had 16 of his 28 points in the first half, most coming in the lane or at the rim, to help Duke hang in the game against a red-hot Wolfpack team. NC State had six 3-pointers in a six-minute span in the first half (three from Caleb Martin, two from Cat Barber and one from Maverick Rowan) to take control of the game.

While the balloon-armed students, who braved the ice and snow that had the North Carolina governor urging fans to stay home, were raising the intensity after every three, Allen was doing his best to stymie NC State’s confidence with back-breaking plays at the rim like this dunk at the end of a perfectly executed inbounds play.

NC State’s lead evaporated in the second half as Duke settled into its 2-3 zone defense and the Blue Devils’ guards did a good job getting out to run, turning bad shots into easy opportunities at the other end.

The performances of Allen and Ingram highlighted some areas the two can provide a boost to help Duke’s offense maintain a high clip as it struggles with what Mike Krzyzewski has called an “undermanned” and “underaged” rotation.

Since Amile Jefferson went out with his foot injury, Duke has relied much more on the 3-pointer (accounting for 34.2 percent of the team’s scoring), but here’s the thing: Duke makes less 3-pointers in wins than it does in losses. When Allen and Ingram are able to attack on offense and get to the rim, it generally sets up a much more balanced attack that will be more successful.

Duke, now 4-3 in ACC play, has a short turnaroud before playing at Miami on Monday night.

Grayson Allen was a highlight reel in the first half against Duke. (USATSI)

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