Duke guard Grayson Allen, in his third game back since serving a one-game suspension for tripping an opponent in his third such incident in the past 10 months, shoved a Florida State assistant coach as he was falling into the seats late in the Blue Devils' 88-72 losson Tuesday.
The play, which came as the No. 9 Seminoles were leading the No. 7 Blue Devils 75-61 with 6:00 to play in the second half, went under the radar after the game, with no known references from coaches or players of Allen's shove of Dennis Gates, a sixth-year assistant coach on Leonard Hamilton's staff.
It wasn't clear whether Allen was intentionally shoving Gates in frustration or attempting to push the assistant coach out of the way as he fell after chasing a loose ball and swatting it back into play. But Allen and Gates both ended up prone on the floor amid several collapsed courtside chairs.
Allen then left the game with an apparent head injury sustained during a play less than 30 seconds later and did not return.
Gates released a statement on Twitter Wednesday morning, which essentially excused Allen of any wrongdoing. Read the full statement below.
"I misread Allen's speed the same way you all are misreading the clip," Gates wrote Wednesday, tweeting #givegraysonabreak.
It was Allen's first road game since his suspension that came after tripping Elon guard Steven Santa Ana on Dec. 21.
Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski's one-game punishment was widely criticized for being too lenient. That scrutiny only intensified after Duke defeated Boston College 93-82 on Saturday and Allen appeared to possibly trip Eagles forward Connar Tava.
A statement issued by the ACC stated, "There is nothing conclusive that can be determined" as to whether Allen intentionally made contact with Tava's leg or foot.
Every time Allen touched the ball or lined up at the free throw line on Tuesday, he heard thunderous boos. There was a sign likening him to a toddler. Another mocked him for being stripped of his captaincy. He mustered nine points with five assists and three turnovers.
Duke interim head coach Jeff Capel, who is replacing Krzyzewski while he recovers from back surgery, said he didn't believe Allen was affected by the hostile environment.
"I don't think what other people say, chant or do wears on him that much," Capel said. "The kid has been through a lot -- he brought a lot of it on himself, but some of the things that have happened are just crazy.
"I am not talking about the chanting; that stuff happens on the road with a really good crowd, and they had a really great crowd tonight. But I don't think that wore on him. I think Florida State's defense and their relentless pressure did."
Information from ESPN's Jenna Laine was used in this report.
Read the full statement from Dennis Gates below:
I clearly need to do a better job of moving out of the way like my coworkers. It is my responsibility to do 1 of 2 things. The 1st is getting out of the way. The 2nd, be a good sport by making an attempt to protect an opponent blind spot. I clearly did not make the correct decision. I misread Grayson Allen's speed the same way you all are misreading the clip. It was our lower body that made the most contact. The results from that impact is what put me on my back not a shove. I did not in anyway feel attacked nor disrespected as the media and others are portraying Grayson Allen's character and hustle. Stop judging on hand placement. All I view it to be is, "A GREAT HUSTLE PLAY." Nothing more, nothing less. Watch the lower body collision, not upper. I know what a dirty play is and I was not the victim of one. Thanks to all Seminole fans who came out and made the atmosphere electric. The Tuck was rocking. You all made the difference, Go Noles!