DURHAM, N.C., Sporting Alert – On a night when Harry Giles made his college basketball debut, the No. 1 overall recruit in ESPN 100 for 2016 had to watch most of the contest from the bench as No. 5 Duke beat Tennessee State 65-55.
Giles played just four minutes in the first half and was 0-for-1 on shooting without any points.
“First game, that was just shaking the rust off and getting the kinks out,” he said. “I think each day, each game, each practice, I’ll get better.”
After a slow start in which they scored the lowest points in a half this season, the Blue Devils exploded in the second period at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night to take the game away from the visitors who struggled to get going after the break.
Luke Kennard scored 24 points on 7-for-9 shooting with three triples, while Amile Jefferson grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds in the win for Duke, which recorded its 132 victories at home against non-conference opponents.
“This game was a learning experience for us,” Kennard said. “We can’t take anything for granted. We’ve got to play each and every game like it’s the biggest game of the year.
“I just don’t think we were really ready to play. Our energy wasn’t there, our enthusiasm wasn’t there, and we just didn’t really have one guy that’s bringing us all the energy, and we really needed that tonight.”
Grayson Allen, who is averaging 17.7 points per game, scored 12 points tonight to go with five rebounds, while freshman Jayson Tatum added 10 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks for Mike Krzyzewski’s side.
Darreon Reddick top score for Tennessee State with 12 points and Tahjere McCall ended with 10 in the defeat.
SLOW START, BEFORE BIG RUN
The Blue Devils (11-1) were held to just 27 points in the first half, but picked up the pace in the second half to outscore the Tigers 38-32.
With the game still close, Duke used a 25-3 run to build a 20-point lead with 7:11 left in the game.
The run knocked the stuffing out of the Tigers (8-3) and they never recovered from the big deficit.
Tennessee State is now 0-10 all-time against ACC opponents.