Durham, N.C.. – Sophomore guard Rocket Watts scored a team-high 20 points to lead five players in double figures as No. 8 Michigan State came back from an early 10-point deficit to beat No. 6 Duke, 75-69, in the Champions Classic at Cameron Indoor Stadium Tuesday night.
Watts scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, as the Spartans used a 14-3 run over the opening 3:29 of the second half to take a 51-36 lead en route to the win.
Junior Aaron Henry finished with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots, while redshirt junior Redshirt junior forward Joey Hauser had his second-straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State in the win.
Sophomore forward Malik Hall added his own double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and ended with Julius Marble ended with 12 points off the bench in the win for the Spartans, who won their third-straight game to improve to 3-0 in the young season.
Matthew Hurt led the way for Duke (1-1) with a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Freshman Jalen Johnson, who was one of the standout performers in the win over Coppin State in the season opener, was this time limited to just 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He had 19 points and 19 rebounds in his college debut on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Jaemyn Brakefield scored 11 points and Jordan Goldwire added 10 points for the Blue Devils, who settled for jump shots through out the contest and it proved to be a problem.
Duke missed 14 of their first 15 3-pointers and saw the home side quickly moved from leading by double-digits to trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, as Michigan State controlled the game for most of the night.
Despite the defeat, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was happy to get an early strong test.
“I think it really helps us immensely,” Krzyzewski said. “The thing about this year is no game is guaranteed to anybody. We’re really pleased that we were able to make the arrangement with Michigan State to play this game.
“It worked … I think both teams benefit from it. Obviously, you would like to win it, but we just have to keep learning. I have 11 guys and seven of them are new.
“Two of them didn’t play today, but seven guys have never been in a game like this. Every one of
their guys have been in a game like this. Is it beneficial to us? Yes, definitely. It would be more if we won, but hopefully that will come. That’s what our goal is.”
Michigan State hosts Detroit on Friday night.
Duke will play host to Bellarmine on Friday night.