Huge first half propels Duke past Elon

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Duke basketball generic

DURHAM -- No. 15 Duke had some extra time to keep figuring out how to play without its injured leader and big man. For one half, anyway, things couldn't have gone much better for the Blue Devils.

Duke scored 70 points in the first half of its 105-66 rout of Elon on Monday night.

"If you want to fast-dance, your partner's got to fast-dance with you," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They fast-dance faster than we do. ... We played pretty good defense, so we got runs. ... All of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, you've got a lot of points."

Freshman Brandon Ingram matched a season high with 26 points and added 11 rebounds while fellow freshman Luke Kennard had 18 points and Grayson Allen and Matt Jones had 17 apiece.

Scoring 70 in a half for just the third time in program history, the Blue Devils (10-2) shot 58 percent in the opening half and led by 30 points after just over 13 minutes. They reached 100 for the second time this season but fell seven points shy of a season high.

Still, it added up to an easy win in the first leg of a two-games-in-48-hours stretch before they start Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday at Boston College.

"You kind of saw exactly what we're trying to do with spacing the floor, and driving and kicking," Allen said. "When we click like that and we move the ball around like that, it's very dangerous offensively."

Tanner Samson had 17 points to lead Elon (9-4), which never led, shot 38 percent and had its six-game winning streak snapped.

"I thought Duke was good tonight, and we were not," coach Matt Matheny said. "We did not guard the ball well, and ... they dissected us."

Marshall Plumlee had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Derryck Thornton finished with 12 points for Duke.

The Blue Devils had nine days to digest their 77-75 overtime loss to Utah and to work on filling the void left by injured forward Amile Jefferson, who is out with indefinitely with a broken right foot. Jefferson was in a walking boot and on crutches after Krzyzewski said his hard cast was removed earlier Monday.

Allen, who managed just seven points on 3-of-18 shooting in the loss to Utah while playing with flu-like symptoms, was closer to full health in this one. Ingram was clicking, too, reaching the 20-point mark for the fourth time in five games - the exception being a 15-point game against Utah.

Kennard, the bright spot of the Utah loss, picked up right where he left off at Madison Square Garden. The freshman, who had 24 in that game, hit three 3s in 3 minutes during the 33-6 run midway through the half that put Duke in total control. Jones hit a layup just before the buzzer for the 70th point.

Up next for Elon is a home game against Northeastern on Thursday. Duke hosts Long Beach State on Wednesday.

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