Duke needed a big game from Grayson Allen, and it got it. The junior guard scored a game-high 25 points to lead the No. 18 Blue Devils to an 86-78 win over No. 8 North Carolina on Thursday.
“They were terrific,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Steve Lappas said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “North Carolina, not the best defensive team in the country, and the one thing you know when you play Duke over the years is you got to guard them from the three-point line.”
Duke shot 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from three. Allen shot 7-of-12.
“Grayson Allen was really good, and he’s playing out of position, which make it more impressive,” Lappas said. “He’s not a point guard, and yet, he’s got to play the point for Duke. I think ultimately that’s what we’ve got to keep an eye on is how that all transpires without having a point guard and playing him there. Carolina is not the best defensive team, so they’re not the kind of team that can expose that, but last night, that Duke team really played well.”
Luke Kennard scored 20 points for Duke, while Jayson Tatum had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Justin Jackson scored 21 for UNC, which played without Isaiah Hicks (left hamstring).
“Carolina is a power team – the best rebounding team in the country, the best inside team in the country,” Lappas said. “Not having Isaiah Hicks out there was definitely a significant blow to them because they played a kid name Luke Maye, who’s a good player, but he’s more of a perimeter-oriented 4-man. They missed that inside presence that Isaiah Hicks brings to the team. They lost a big part of their identity when they didn’t have him last night.”
Duke (19-5) has won four in a row, but Lappas maintains that Mike Krzyzewski didn’t appropriately discipline Allen this season – or last season.
“No, I wasn’t okay (with it) from the beginning, to be honest with you,” Lappas said. “Coach K is the greatest ever, but I think if Coach K had done something last year when this first happened, it probably would have been taken care of. People are making much more out of this than it is. This is a kid that needs to be disciplined. That’s all it is. These are kids. This goes on around the whole country, but you don’t hear about it because it’s not Grayson Allen who plays for Duke. I think it could have been squashed last year had he been suspended last year.”