Allen heating up as No. 6 Duke hosts Appalachian State

BY foxsports • November 26, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. -- Grayson Allen is playing hurt with some ailments that have added up for Duke's junior guard.

But the Blue Devils are continuing to count on him and he's more than ready to do his part.

"The confidence in my shooting never left me," Allen said. "It was just I had to make them."

Allen figures to be one of the focal points again Saturday afternoon when No. 6 Duke takes on visiting Appalachian State.

Allen is coming off a 17-point outing against William & Mary. He made three 3-point baskets in the game after going a combined 2-for-18 on 3-pointers in the previous three games.

"It's about time I made some shots," he said. "It felt better to see the ball go in the net."

The Blue Devils (5-1) need Allen's offense as they wait for their roster to stabilize.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said it's fortunate that Allen has been able to play through his assortment of injuries, but the guard has missed practice time.

"He's still not there," Krzyzewski said of playing at full capacity. "We have to keep playing and keep getting better and get Grayson healthier."

Allen has been a double-digit scorer in each game, though leading the team in scoring only once.

The injury list has been part of the theme for the Blue Devils across the first couple of weeks of the season.

Three injured freshmen were in uniform for Wednesday night's game against William & Mary, part of what Krzyzewski described as the process in bringing them back to action though none of them has made an official collegiate debut. Forward Marques Bolden and center Harry Giles might be closet to game action based on the fact that they went through warm-ups, while swingman Jayson Tatum was mostly a spectator during the pregame.

"I think the transition from serious injury isn't just physical, but it's also mental," Krzyzewski said. "I think to put on your uniform, do warm-ups as much as you can and be a part of the team is something we wanted to transition them to. ... Everything is progressing well."

Duke has won three games since its loss to Kansas. The Blue Devils have put five players in double-figure scoring in every game.

Appalachian State coach Jim Fox likes his team to be aggressive, so if that leads to a brisk pace, that could work to Duke's advantage at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"I think we're at our best when we're pushing and really attacking," Fox said. "We can't go through those droughts and playing on our heels."

Appalachian State (2-2) is coming off a 70-61 victory at Hartford, with sophomore guard Ronshad Shabazz pouring in 28 points. That marked only the third non-conference road victory in three seasons under Fox.

The Mountaineers have won back-to-back games after opening the season with road losses to Davidson and Tennessee.

"Against Tennessee we had that abysmal stretch," Fox said. "We didn't attack the way I know we can."

Shabazz is from Raleigh, so he'll be playing about a half-hour from home.

Duke has won the last six meetings with Appalachian State, though the teams haven't met since 1988.


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