Duke and Michigan State offered an early 1-vs-2 gem featuring a preseason All-American, a star-laden freshman class and a senior adding another big moment to a career that includes winning a national championship.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo was left hoping it wasn’t the only time his team might see the Blue Devils this year.
“We deserved what we got, they deserved what they got,” Izzo told reporters after Tuesday’s 88-81 loss in the Champions Classic in Chicago. “Do I think we’ll get better? Do I think we’ll get a chance to play them again? I sure as hell hope so.”
The 42nd meeting of the top two teams since 1949 headlined the past week’s AP Top 25 schedule, part of a heavyweight doubleheader that also included No. 4 Kansas’ 65-61 win against No. 7 Kentucky.
Michigan State star sophomore Miles Bridges — the leading vote-getter on The Associated Press preseason All-America team — finished with 19 points. But Izzo lamented his team’s performance on the boards, a 46-34 Duke edge that led to 17 second-chance points and prompted Izzo to describe it as a “smashmouth” characteristic of past Michigan State teams.
As for Duke, the Blue Devils had several takeaways. Freshman guard Trevon Duval (17 points, 10 assists, six steals) shined in his first marquee game. And senior Grayson Allen’s career-best 37 points more than made up for the loss of top rookie Marvin Bagley III to a first-half eye injury.
In fact, Allen’s play was a throwback to his freshman year, when Quinn Cook was the vital senior alongside a touted rookie class featuring three one-and-dones. That team beat Izzo’s Spartans in the Champions Classic then again in the Final Four on the way to winning the 2015 NCAA title — part of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 12-1 record against Michigan State.
“It’s an honor to play against Tom’s program,” Krzyzewski said. “They bring out the best in you.”