No. 6 Duke beats Utah State 85-52 for 4th straight win

DURHAM -- Freshman Luke Kennard had the best game of his young career, scoring 22 points to help No. 6 Duke beat Utah State 85-52 on Sunday.

Grayson Allen also scored 22 points for the Blue Devils (6-1), who won their fourth straight game since losing to Kentucky. Duke ran off the first 16 points of the second half and shot 64 percent after the break, turning an 11-point halftime lead into a blowout margin in an easy home win.

Duke shot a season-high 56 percent.

Chris Smith scored 13 points to lead the Aggies (4-1), who hung around through the first half before an 8-for-28 shooting performance (29 percent) after halftime helped the Blue Devils speed out of reach.

Kennard, a 6-foot-5 guard from Franklin, Ohio, had been wrestling with his shot early this season. But he looked confident with his stroke and assertive Sunday, matching his previous high of 12 points by halftime.

He finished 7 for 9 from the field and made 4 of 5 3-pointers in 26 minutes. Not bad for a guy who came in shooting 33 percent from the field and 17 percent (4 for 23) from behind the arc.

Allen, meanwhile, the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading scorer at 22.7 points per game, finished almost exactly on his average by repeatedly getting into the lane and knocking down a pair of 3s to go with five rebounds.

Duke took control by running off the first 16 points of the second half to put the game away, with Allen getting into the lane for a score and burying a 3 during the clinching run. Freshman Brandon Ingram's free throws capped the run, which turned a 38-27 halftime edge into a 54-27 lead with 15:31 to play.


Utah State: Jalen Moore came in averaging 13.3 points, but finished with eight on 3-for-10 shooting. ... Utah State made 3 of 12 3-pointers. ... Utah State had outrebounded its first four opponents but finished with a 40-26 deficit there against Duke.

Duke: Amile Jefferson scored 13 points and had nine rebounds. ... Duke made 8 of 15 3s for the game, with Matt Jones hitting a pair. ... Duke pushed its NCAA-best home winning streak against nonconference opponents to 120 games, a streak that started in November 2000.


Utah State travels to Missouri State on Tuesday.

Duke hosts No. 13 Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.

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