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.
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.
Georgia Southern plays host to Winthrop on Saturday.
Duke plays Utah on Saturday in New York.
AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org