Duke Rolled Florida 84-74 In the Jimmy V Classic Nightcap

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils overcame a slow start to top No. 21 Florida 84-74 Tuesday evening in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Duke started the game just 4-of-13 from the floor, but Kennard and Jefferson led the way once again with 53 points combined.

Jayson Tatum, the star freshman’s second game of the season, boosted the No. 5 Blue Devils’ transition game. Tatum finished the game with 22 points off the bench.

“My teammates did a good job of fitting me in, and it really starts on defense,” Tatum said. “Make plays on defense, transition offense.”

“Luke kind of took the game over. We had a good thing going there,” Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “All of our guys went to him and then Jayson had a thing going. Even one time, I called something for Amile and Amile said go to [Jayson]. That’s the kind of kids I have and he made a better decision than I did.”

Florida couldn’t match Duke’s individual grace, but KeVaughn Allen turned in an impressive offensive showing with 21 points. Kasey Hill added 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while John Egbunujust missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

“They were a better team tonight,” Florida coach Mike White said. “I thought our guys were really jacked up for the opportunity. I thought Amile Jefferson was amazing, just absolutely amazing.”

Duke moves to 9-1 on the campaign and already has quality wins over Michigan State and Rhode Island to pair with the Florida victory. Coach K is now 29-10 all-time at MSG. And Duke is 13-4 all-time against Florida.

The Blue Devils aren’t a completed product just yet , but the team is starting to come together on and off the court. This performance was definitely a better showing from the last time the Blue Devils played at MSG. Duke’s only loss this season was a 77-75 decision to Kansas at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15.

Things don’t get any easier for the Florida Gators. Their next match up is with state rival Florida State Seminoles, down in Tallahassee. The Blue Devils head west to take on the UNLV Rebels, in Vegas on Saturday.

After the game , Coach K also reflected on his late friend, Jimmy Valvano.
“I miss him,” Krzyzewski said of Valvano. “I’m glad he had the vision to get this thing started.”

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