GREENSBORO, NC, Sporting Alert – No. 5 Duke will wrap up its non-conference schedule on Wednesday night against Elon.
Duke is coming off a 65-55 win over Tennessee State on Monday night but it wasn’t easy for Mike Krzyzewski’s side, which had to overcome its lowest first half performance this season.
The Blue Devils (11-1) have won nine straight since losing to Kansas in November, and they will be hoping to work on a few things against Elon, which is their final opponent before they begin ACC play against Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve.
Luke Kennard scored 24 points and Amile Jefferson pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds for Duke against Tennessee State, while freshamn star Harry Giles finally made his career debut for Duke.
Giles, who is the No. 1 recruit in ESPN 100 list, missed the team’s first 10 games but played four minutes in the first half as coach Krzyzewski tries to ease his lottery pick into his lineup.
Giles was playing his first competitive game in 13 months due to do knee operations.
“It was frustrating,” he said after failing to score on debut. “But I was just so thankful to be back out there playing again.”
Giles will feature again on Wednesday night and coach Krzyzewski will hope his team will be in a better position to allow his top freshman to play a little more.
Elon, meanwhile, snapped a three-game skid with a 68-53 win over St. Peter’s on Sunday with Brian Dawkins leading the way with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers.
The Phoenix (7-4) were beaten 105-66 by Duke in last year’s meeting.
Kennard leads Duke in scoring this season with 20.3 points, while four other players are also averaging double figures.
Grayson Allen is averaging 17.2, Jayson Tatum is putting up 14.8 and 7.5 rebounds (from four games), while Jefferson is putting together a double-double this season with 14.3 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils.
Freshman guard Frank Jackson is scoring 12.7 points per outing this campaign.
Dawkins leads Elon in scoring with 12.5 points per battle, while Tyler Seibring is averaging 12.4 points and 6.5 rebounds and Steve Santa Ana is scoring 12 points per game.
Luke Eddy is contributing 11.4 points per contest for the Phoenix, with Dainan Swoope also averaging in double-digits, with 10.6 points.