BOSTON (AP) Grayson Allen intercepted a pass and went in for a dunk so emphatic that the ball, after passing through the net, bounced off his head and wound up a half-dozen rows back in the stands.
The Duke guard fell to the court with a thud.
“(He’s) powerful, and then he’s fearless. So he goes with a little bit of a reckless abandon,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the 15th-ranked Blue Devils beat Boston College 81-64 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
“He usually is either knocked to the floor or he falls to the floor because of those Herculean plays that he makes,” Krzyzewski said.
Allen does the same thing in practice, but his coach doesn’t dare tell him to take it easy.
“I think you have a greater chance of getting hurt by tempering your natural instincts,” Krzyzewski said.
Allen had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Blue Devils (12-2), and Brandon Ingram finished with 25 points and nine rebounds. Duke fell behind by six points early in its first true road game of the season before scoring 20 of the next 25 points.
“I think we had a little bit of nervousness at the beginning,” Allen said. “But first time playing on someone’s home court, first ACC game, that’s expected.”
Luke Kennard added 17 points, and Matt Jones had 16 to help Duke beat BC for the 10th consecutive time.
Eli Carter scored 19 points for Boston College (7-7, 0-1), and Jerome Robinson had 15 points and seven rebounds.
BC led 12-6 with 7 minutes gone in the game before Derryck Thornton made a jumper on an assist from Allen and then Jones made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one point. Allen then stole the ball from Robinson and took it in for a dunk to give Duke its first lead of the game.
Allen was slow to get up after landing hard among the media sitting courtside.
It was 18-17 Duke before the Blue Devils made eight consecutive free throws. Duke scored the last five points of the first half to take a 37-24 lead.
The Eagles ran off 10 straight points in the second half to cut a 21-point deficit to 57-46. But after Duke called timeout, Allen hit a free throw and then had another steal that led to a three-point play.
Ingram was one point off his career high. He entered the game averaging 21.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in his past six games. The 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward has topped the 20-point mark and led the Blue Devils in five of the past seven games.
One of seven freshmen on the roster, Ingram got his first taste of an ACC road game.
“It felt very different,” he said. “We knew it was a hostile environment coming in here. It was our first ACC game, so we knew we had to play our hardest.”
Krzyzewski took time out during the postgame handshakes to praise BC center Dennis Clifford, who played limited minutes as a sophomore and then missed almost his entire junior year because of damage to the cartilage in both knees.
“I can remember coming up here a few years ago, and Clifford could hardly walk,” Krzyzewski said. “He must have done a lot of stuff, because he moves well. I admire that, that kids’ commitment, and his commitment to BC.”
Clifford said he hears that from other coaches often, but it’s a nice compliment from a basketball Hall of Famer.
“I appreciate every time somebody shouts me out because of all I’ve been through,” Clifford said.
Duke: The Blue Devils improved to 19-2 against BC. … Duke is 28-8 in ACC openers under Krzyzewski. … The Blue Devils made just 3 of 13 attempts from 3-point range in the first half. … Duke is 19-0 when Allen scores in double figures since the start of last season.
Boston College: BC last beat Duke on Feb. 15, 2009, when the Blue Devils were ranked sixth in The Associated Press’ Top 25.
Duke: at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Boston College: hosts Notre Dame on Thursday night.