Duke looking to bounce back vs. Penn State
Mike Krzyzewski found a silver lining in his No. 1-ranked Blue Devils losing to Kansas at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
“The fact that we fought hard, that we played against a really good team, and then shake hands with them because they hit a big, big shot and played really hard,” Krzyzewski said after the last-second shot knocked the Blue Devils lost to the No. 7 Jayhawks.
“You learn a lot from playing at this level of game and that's why this Champions Classic is so important for these four programs (No. 2 Kentucky clobbered No. 13 Michigan State in the other game) to be able to play in games like this.”
The Blue Devils opened the season with easy wins over Marist and Grand Canyon in the home-court opening games of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament and Saturday will face Penn State in the opener of a double-header at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
No. 21 Rhode Island and No. 24 Cincinnati play in the nightcap and the winners meet on Sunday for the title, with the losers vying for third place.
The Nittany Lions are also 2-1, but the loss didn't come against Kansas — it came at home to Albany in the opener. Patrick Chambers' team is young and allowed 79 points per game, beating Grand Canyon and Duquesne.
Penn State was outrebounded 124-96 in the first three games and it will be going up against stronger teams this weekend.
“Rebounding is a major concern of mine right now, we have to do a much better job in that area right now,” Chambers said earlier this week.
Duke's Grayson Allen suffered through a tough night at Madison Square Garden, where he scored 12 points on 4-for-15 from the floor.
“I think Grayson had a very frustrating game,” Krzyzewski said of Allen, who missed 11 of his first 12 shots. “I think you can't expect to get a foul. I think he's getting to a point where he makes a move and it's a good move and he expects a foul.
“I'm not saying they're not calling fouls. You can't do that. That can't be what you're doing. The last few minutes, he moved well. He's playing hard when he gets the ball and he needs to play harder when he doesn't have the ball. It's what he did in the last few minutes.”
The Blue Devils held Kansas to 2-of-17 from 3-point range and come into this game limiting their three opponents to a .148 percentage from behind the arc. On the other side, Duke enters this game having made at least one 3-pointer in 950 straight games.
The Blue Devils also come in with the reigning ACC rookie of the week in Frank Jackson, who is averaging 16.7 points, two assists and 2.7 rebounds in his first three college games. Despite the tough shooting night, Allen is averaging 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
“They're shooting the heck out of the ball from three (38.6 percent) right now,” Chambers said. “From two, they have a very good percentage (48.6 overall). They're getting to the free throw line. They're shooting — they're making more than their opponents are even attempting. They are doing some great things and they're doing exactly what Coach K wants his team to do.”
The Nittany Lions have five players averaging in double figures.