No. 6 Duke Blue Devils Withstand Early Run, Defeat Yale Bulldogs 80-61

Coming into tonight’s game, it had been the Grayson Allen show for the Duke Blue Devils – minus the Kentucky game. But tonight against the Yale Bulldogs, it was the “other guys” who stepped up and led the Blue Devils to an 80-61 victory.

It was freshman Brandon Ingram who led the way for Duke on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-9 freshman finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench. It was also Ingram who thrived in Duke’s 1-3-1 zone defensive scheme, as the long-armed forward was the head of the defense, making it tough for Yale to make passes over the top.

Matt Jones led the team with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc. Jones didn’t just hurt the Bulldogs from outside; he showed he has the ability to drive to the basket and finish. Luke Kennard had one of his better games with 12 points and three steals.

Grayson Allen added 14 points, five rebounds and five assists, but dealt with foul trouble in the second half. The sophomore guard was bound to slow down as he put together consecutive 30-plus point games in the 2K Classic against VCU and Georgetown.

The tandem of Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee continued to their dominance on the boards as they combined for 20 rebounds and three blocked shots. Jefferson was one point away from his fourth double-double of the season (nine points, 12 rebounds).

This senior-laden Yale team battled all night. The reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Justin Spears, led all scorers with 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Makai Mason (13 points) and Jack Montaque (11 points) were the only other players for Yale to score in double figures.

This Yale ballclub came out with a quick 9-0 run, putting Duke on their heels early. However, the Blue Devils would calm down and go on a 20-10 run to take their first lead, and Brandon Ingram was the biggest reason as he scored nine of his 15 points. Yale didn’t go away as they would regain the lead once again, only to give it away right before the half. After the first 20 minutes of play, Duke led Yale 38-36.

That was as close as the Bulldogs would get as the Blue Devils would start to run away with it. Duke would come out of the half on a 12-2 run, giving them a 50-38 lead. Yale remained pesky, but the talent and raucous crowd of Duke would be too much to overcome. The Blue Devils outscored Yale 42-25 in the second half, clinching an 80-61 victory.

It’s been obvious early on that the weakness for this Duke team has been defense, which isn’t uncommon with a young team. However, tonight they made strides as they had success with the 1-3-1 zone defense, forcing 13 turnovers from 12 steals. A normally good outside shooting team, Yale was held to only 4-of-15 shooting from behind the arc.

With the win, Duke’s nonconference win streak in Cameron Indoor reached 119 wins dating back to the year 2000. This victory also marks the 950th win for Mike Krzyzewski as the head coach at Duke.