PORTLAND, Ore., Sporting Alert – Marvin Bagley III recorded a double-double and No. 1 Duke overcame another double-digit deficit to knock off No. 7 Florida 87-84 to win the Motion Bracket of the PK80 Invitational on Sunday night.
The win saw the Blue Devils staying undefeated and improved to 8-0 to start a season for the first since the 2014-15 campaign when they opened with 14-0 and went on to win the national championship.
Bagley III had his straight 15-rebound game and scored 30 points to lead the way for Duke, which fell behind the sharpshooting Gators early in the contest and found themselves trailing by 17 points with 10 minutes remaining.
“We started playing hard,” Bagley III said about the comeback. “Now the next step is trying to figure out we can do that in the beginning instead of having to fight back the whole time.
“That can get stressful sometimes. We just got keep continuing to learn and get better. I think we’ll figure it out.”
Another freshman Gary Trent Jr., who made three big 3-pointers in the first half, had a key steal and made a pair of free throws to put Duke in front with 8-seconds left, ended with 15 points.
Grayson Allen had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds and Trevon Duval finished with 11 points and six assists for the Blue Devils.
Jalen Hudson produced a 24-point and 10-rebound performance to lead the way for Florida (5-1), while KeVaughn Allen added 17 points and Egor Koulechov had 15 points and six rebounds in the defeat.
Duke’s Bagley III, who recorded his sixth double-double in eight games this season, and was outstanding in the wins over Portland State and Texas in the earlier games of the tournament, was named the Motion Bracket’s Most Valuable Player.
“Your blood pressure is a lot higher when you don’t have good players than it is when you have good players,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
“We have very talented players. I believe in my guys,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chris Chiozza, who was among four Florida players with over 30-minutes under their belt, had 13 points and seven assists, six rebounds and two steals for the Gators, who did not score in the final 2:38 and lost for the first time this season.
“I think fatigue played a factor for both teams,” Florida coach Mike White said.
“They’re tired too and they’re young. We’re not having any excuses.”
Florida started strongly and at one point had outscored Duke 24-7 in the first to go into the interval with a 53-49 lead.
However, the Gators made only four of its final 17 shots and were outscored 38-31 in the second half.
“I thought Duke defended at a high level, I’m guessing, the last six, eight minutes of the game. I thought they tightened up and forced some contested ones late.”
Florida, which lost to Duke for the second-straight season, following last year’s defeat in the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden, is now 4-14 all-time against the Blue Devils.
Duke will visit Indiana on Wednesday night in its next fixture.
Florida will be off until Dec. 4 when it entertains Florida State.