Duke 34 41 – 75
Kansas 29 48 – 77
After trailing by as much as nine points in the first half, No. 7 Kansas grabbed control of their Champions Classic game against No. 1 Duke in the second half and then barely held off the Blue Devils for the 77-75 victory. Frank Mason III’s 16-foot jump shot with 1.8 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Jayhawks picked up their first win of the season after losing in overtime to Indiana Friday night.
Mason finished the game with 21 points and Josh Jackson added 15 before fouling out to lead the way offensively for Kansas. Hit hard by foul trouble in the first half, Kansas received solid contributions from guard Devonte’ Graham (13 points), wing LaGerald Vick (nine points, five rebounds) and center Udoka Azubuike (six points, 12 rebounds) to remain within striking distance of the Blue Devils. Luke Kennard led four Duke starters in double figures with 22 points, helping Duke make up for Grayson Allen’s offensive struggles.
Allen, viewed by many as an early favorite for national player of the year honors, struggled in the Champions Classic for the second consecutive season as he shot 4-for-15 from the field. Allen left the game late in the first half with a right leg injury, but after being checked out by team doctors he returned for the start of the second half. Allen finished the game with 12 points, with Matt Jones scoring 13 points and Amile Jefferson 12 for the 2-1 Blue Devils. Duke played the game without four players, most notably freshmen Marques Bolden, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, due to injury.
The first half between No. 1 Duke and No. 7 Kansas was a choppy one, due in large part to the number of fouls committed by both teams. Duke held the advantage early, jumping out to a 15-6 lead as Kansas saw multiple players head to the bench in early foul trouble including starting guard Frank Mason III. Kansas was able to work their way back into the game, but Duke regained control of the contest and took a five-point lead into the intermission.
However, the Blue Devils lost star guard Grayson Allen late in the half as he fell awkwardly after attempting a shot over two Kansas defenders. Allen was evaluated on the bench briefly before being taken to the locker room by the Duke training staff.
Amile Jefferson led the way for Duke with 11 points and four rebounds, with Chase Jeter, Luke Kennard and Matt Jones scoring six points apiece. Before leaving the game Allen scored five points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field. Devonte’ Graham led the foul-plagued Jayhawks with nine points, and LaGerald Vick tallied six points off the bench to help Kansas account for the fact that four of their starters had at least two fouls to their credit. Starter Carlton Bragg Jr. and reserve big man Udoka Azubuike were called for three fouls apiece in the first half.
The biggest difference in the first half was the foul line, with Duke making 12 of their seventeen attempts while Kansas shot just 2-for-9. A key for Duke in the second half will be to keep Kansas off the boards, as the Jayhawks grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the first stanza.