The injuries continue to pile up for No. 1 Duke as the Blue Devils managed to outlast Penn State with a 78-68 win on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore big man Chase Jeter left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and didn’t return while junior guard Grayson Allen continues to battle a toe injury that makes him look far less explosive than normal.
Despite Jeter’s absence and only 12 points from Allen, the Blue Devils jumped out to a manageable lead on Penn State as they were able to outlast a late burst that had the Nittany Lions somewhat close in the final minutes.
Senior forward Amile Jefferson put together a monster double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds while Matt Jones and Luke Kennard each chipped in 15 points. Playing another important factor in this one was freshman Frank Jackson, who continued his sensational start to the season by scoring 17 points.
The Blue Devils (3-1) are certainly missing enough talented players by this point, and if Allen continues to be hampered by the toe injury, they could be in some trouble in these next few games.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Jeter was “doubtful” to play on Sunday while the team’s three freshmen who have been out (Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Harry Giles) will remain out.
Advancing in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, the Blue Devils will face the winner of Rhode Island and Cincinnati on Sunday in what should be an intriguing game since Duke is so depleted right now.
As for Penn State (2-2), this was a solid test for a young Nittany Lions team that looks like it can be competitive in the Big Ten this season. Freshman Tony Carr has to contain some of his wild moments but he finished with a team-high 20 points and six rebounds. Shep Garner added 15 points while Payton Banks had 13.