Luke Kennard scores 21, leads No. 5 Duke past Elon, 72-61

GREENSBORO, N.C., Sporting Alert — Luke Kennard scored 21 points, while freshman star Harry Giles collected his first points in college career, and No. 5 Duke pulled away for a 72-61 victory over Elon on Wednesday night. Box Score and Details

For the second night this week the Blue Devils struggled to get going early and found themselves trailing 35-34 at halftime.

However, they managed to pick the pace up in the second half to outscore Elon 38-26 during that period to secure a 10th successive win.

Freshman Jayson Tatum played confidently throughout the contest and the result was him finishing with 18 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals for Duke (12-1).

Jayson Tatum and Grayson Allen

Jayson Tatum and teammate Grayson Allen from Duke

Amile Jefferson added 13 points and seven boards, while junior guard Grayson Allen was whistled for a technical for a tripping foul on Elon’s Steven Santa Ana and finished the remaining 4:15 of the first half on the bench.

After being pulled, the star guard reacted angrily on the bench and sat with the towel over his head.

Allen, who was being called for his third tripping foul in a year, visibly disrupted the flow of the game for his teammates and it resulted in him also starting the second half on the bench.

The Preseason Player of the Year is averaging 17.2 points per game but he finished Wednesday’s contest with just three points with 1-of-8 from the field overall and 1-of-6 from 3-point range.

“I made a really bad play. I am sorry,” Allen said.

“I am not proud of it,” he added.

Brian Dawkins scored 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Phoenix (7-5), while Santa Ana added 11 points in the defeat.

Luke Eddy, who is averaging 11.4 points per game this season, was held to just three points.

Giles, playing in his second game of the season, tallied six minutes in three different calls from the bench, while finishing with one point, which came from the free-throw line in the second half.

Elon shot made seven of its eight 3-pointers in an impressive first half play, but Duke, as expected, tightened things up after the interval to limit their opponent’s success from behind the arc.

As a team, the Blue Devils were 36.5 percent from the floor and was only 5-for-20 from long-range.

Duke shot 43.5 percent in the second half on 10-of-23.

The Phoenix were 40 percent on shooting from the floor overall.

Elon will play host to Central Penn on Dec. 28.

The Blue Devils will open ACC play on New Year’s Eve at Virginia Tech.

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