Top-ranked Duke beats Penn State in Tip-Off tournament
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Top-ranked Duke bounced back from its loss to Kansas by beating Penn State, but watched another player go down with an injury.
Freshman Frank Jackson led five players in double figures with 17 points and Amile Jefferson added 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Blue Devils to a 78-68 win Saturday in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament.
Sophomore Chase Jeter rolled his left ankle in the first half and didn’t return.
Tony Carr had 20 points and Shep Garner added 15 to lead Penn State (2-2).
Jeter went down under the Penn State basket while going for a rebound. The 6-foot-10 sophomore was on the floor for several minutes before being helped off the court. His injury came minutes after Grayson Allen left the game, favoring the right foot he hurt in Tuesday’s loss to Kansas.
Allen went back to the locker room, but returned to the floor a few minutes later. He finished with 12 points and needs just three more to become the 65th Duke player with 1,000 points for his career.
Matt Jones and Luke Kennard added 15 points each for Duke, which will play No. 21 Rhode Island for the tournament championship on Sunday.
“We’re banged up more than any team I’ve ever coached,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Before the game and then during the game. I mean, Amile has been hurt this week. He has 15 rebounds and 16 points.”
Despite the injuries, the Blue Devils went on an early 13-2 run that turned a tie game into a 21-10 lead. They led 36-24 at the half, despite some poor shooting from Allen and Kennard, who were a combined 4-15 from the floor. But Jackson picked up the slack, scoring 11 of his points before intermission.
“To be able to have the next man up, coach does a good job motivating us,” Jones said. “We didn’t come to Duke to lose, be second fiddle or bow down to anybody. We know what we’re capable of and everyone on that sideline can help. That confidence that is instilled in us, takes us to where we need to go.”
A 3-point play by Allen stretched the lead to 64-51 midway through the second half.
Penn State trailed 72-57 with just under 5 minutes to play, but went on a 9-2 run before the Blue Devils closed out the game.
Duke’s short bench outscored Penn State’s 19-5.
Duke: Jeter’s injury further depletes a Blue Devils’ team that is still without three highly touted freshmen — Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden — as well as junior Sean Obi. They may have just seven players available for Sunday’s championship game. Krzyzewski pegged Jeter’s status for the game as “doubtful.”
“I know if he can play, he will play,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to try and win. We would like to win.”
Penn State: The Nittany Lions are using the tournament as a measuring stick to see how the young team stacks up against top-level competition. This was the program’s first game against a No. 1 ranked team since 2011, and they’re now 0-14 in those games.
“We took another step today,” said coach Patrick Chambers. “We got better. And that’s our goal Just keep getting better. It’s a process that’s going to take some time, but we’re going to eventually get there.”
Duke was No. 1 in the preseason poll and the first voting of the regular season, but likely will fall a few spots after its loss to Kansas. How far may depend on how they do in this tournament.
Duke held Penn State to six 3-point baskets on 21 attempts. That’s not a fluke. The Blue Devils held their first three opponents under 15 percent from the outside and were giving up fewer than three 3-pointers a game coming into the tournament. Duke was 9 for 24 from 3-point range.
Duke will play No. 21 Rhode Island in the tournament’s championship game Sunday afternoon. The Rams beat No. 24 Cincinnati 76-71 in the second game of the evening.
Penn State will play Cincinnati tournament’s consolation game.
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