Derryck Thornton Jr.

Grayson Allen, Jake Allsmiller
Associated Press

Freshman Ingram leads No. 7 Duke past Georgia Southern 99-65

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Freshman Brandon Ingram had season highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 7 Duke beat Georgia Southern 99-65 on Tuesday night.

Grayson Allen added 18 points, Matt Jones had 16 and Derryck Thornton finished with 15 for the Blue Devils (9-1) in their first game without high-energy forward Amile Jefferson. He averages a double-double but is out indefinitely with a right foot injury.

Playing for the first time in 10 days due to final exams, Duke wasn’t always crisp but still had little trouble pulling away for its seventh straight win. The Blue Devils shot 57.6 percent in the second half and held a 55-29 rebounding advantage.

Tookie Brown scored 20 points and Mike Hughes added 14 for Georgia Southern (3-5), which has lost two straight and five of seven.

For Duke, the priority in this one was figuring out the best way to play without Jefferson, who started the first nine games and averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds – including an ACC-best 4.8 on the offensive end.

The easy answer was to lean hard on Ingram and Marshall Plumlee, who finished with a career-best 11 rebounds.

Jefferson watched from the bench in sweats with a hard cast on his foot, and Duke replaced him in the starting lineup with Luke Kennard – a freshman making his first start – and shifted Ingram from small forward to Jefferson’s power forward spot.

The Blue Devils led for all but about 30 seconds and began to pull away during the final minute of the first half. Jones hit a free throw with 32.2 seconds left before Chase Jeter grabbed his miss and Thornton hit a 3 from the corner just before the buzzer to put Duke up 47-32 at halftime.

Plumlee opened the second half with a stickback dunk, and Ingram followed with a steal and a fast-break dunk through contact. After Ingram swished a 3 two possessions later to make it a 20-point game, Duke was well on its way to another easy win.

TIP-INS

Georgia Southern: The Eagles were playing a ranked team for the first time since 2008, when then-No. 8 Duke beat them 97-54.

Duke: The trickle-down of Jefferson’s absence led to more significant playing time for Jeter, a 6-foot-10 freshman who occupied the last spot in the seven-man rotation. He had two points while playing a season-high 17 minutes.

UP NEXT

Georgia Southern plays host to Winthrop on Saturday.

Duke plays Utah on Saturday in New York.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

VIDEO: Duke’s Thornton dunks over Kennard

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Duke will rely on Derryck Thornton Jr. and Luke Kennard — two five-star guards from the Class of 2015 — this season in the back court, playing alongside Grayson Allen and Matt Jones.

On Thursday night, Thornton, the only true point guard on the roster, cleared the 6-foot-5 Kennard for a one-handed dunk. The right hand may have helped Thornton complete the slam, but it’s still impressive athleticism for floor general known for his high IQ.

#ComingSoon… @lukekennard10

A video posted by Derryck Thornton (@derryckjunior) on

Earlier this offseason, Brandon Ingram, the team’s top incoming freshman, showed off his hops in vertical jump testing, leaving his teammates stunned.

Duke opens the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Siena.

[College Spun]

High-level 2016 point guard considering move to 2015 with two schools in mind

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Two teams looking to shore up their point guard situations this spring are Duke and Louisville, with both having some personnel issues to address in advance of the 2015-16 season. As a result of this need at the point, both have been recruiting Findlay Prep point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. and hoping to convince him to reclassify to the 2015 class (subscription required) according to Josh Gershon of Scout.com.

One of the top players in the Class of 2016, Thornton would give either program a significant boost at the point should he decide to make the move to 2015.

In the case of Louisville, head coach Rick Pitino has to account for the loss of sophomore Terry Rozier who has decided to enter the 2015 NBA Draft. With Quentin Snider returning for his sophomore season, the Cardinals also add Cleveland State transfer Trey Lewis and freshmen Donovan Mitchell and Ryan McMahon to the perimeter rotation but another option wouldn’t hurt at all.

Duke’s situation is slightly different than that of Louisville, and how much of a need the national champions will have at the point has yet to be determined. Tyus Jones is still working through the process of making a decision regarding the 2015 NBA Draft, and should he leave Mike Krzyzewski would be left without a clear answer at the point for next season.

One would assume that Duke would also look into possible graduate student additions in hopes of adding some depth to a position that wouldn’t have it even if Jones were to return to school for his sophomore season.

Should Thornton remain in the Class of 2016 he has a list of ten schools still under consideration according to Gershon’s report, with Duke and Louisville among those as well. Arizona, California, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, NC State, UNLV and USC are the other schools per the report.

Mixtape of emerging 2016 guard Derryck Thornton (VIDEO)

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Derryck Thornton has been emerging with a strong month of June at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and the Stephan Curry Camp to end the month.

The class of 2016 point guard has moved up the No. 11 in Rivals.com’s Class of 2016 rankings and the 6-foot-1 guard will be a player to one in the month of July. As a premier 2016 player and one of the best point guards in the country regardless of class, he’ll have a lot of college coaches watching him.

(H/T: Courtside Films)