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No. 6 Duke routs Appalachian State as Grayson Allen scores 21

By The Sports Xchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke guard Grayson Allen scored all 21 of his points in the first half before limping to the bench in the second half during the sixth-ranked Blue Devils' 93-58 romp past Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Allen's latest ailment was described as a sore toe.

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"He just landed funny and when that happens it hurts," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The Blue Devils will count on Allen being ready for Tuesday night's visit from Michigan State because Krzyzewski said three freshmen who've been sitting out with injuries won't play in that game either.

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That doesn't seem to faze the Blue Devils.

"I think we have to keep stepping up, keep trucking until our guys get healthy," forward Amile Jefferson said. "Once they all get healthy, we'll be even better than we are now."

Heralded freshmen Marques Bolden, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum have been out with various injuries. Like Wednesday night, they were in uniform and Bolden and Giles went through warm-ups.

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Yet the reduced rotation has come unexpected this season because the Blue Devils anticipated having a deep roster.

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"We've been back to doing what we've been doing the last two years," Krzyzewski said of a bulk of playing time going to starters.

Guard Luke Kennard scored 18 points, while Jefferson and guard Frank Jackson each tallied 15 points for the Blue Devils (6-1), who are halfway through a season-long four-game homestand.

Guard Matt Jones added 10 points, giving the Blue Devils five double-figure scorers in all their games this season. Duke has won four games in a row since a last-second loss to Kansas.

"We definitely haven't hit our ceiling yet, which is really good," Jefferson said. "We haven't become the team that we want to be, but we're forming an identity."

Allen led the first-half charge as the Blue Devils built a 55-34 lead at the break. He had been hampered with several ailments for more than a week, missing practice time earlier this week.

But he appeared refreshed with a strong first half, continuing to show that he regained a perimeter shooting touch that had deserted him for a few games. He logged 18 minutes Saturday before exiting at the 11:49 mark.

Guard Kelvin Robinson scored 12 points and forward Griffin Kinney had 11 points for Appalachian State (2-3), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. Mountaineers guard Ronshad Shabazz, coming off a 28-point outing earlier in the week at Harford, was limited to eight points, making one of six field-goal attempts.

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"Going into it, you know it's going to be a difficult game and you try to look at the positives," Appalachian State coach Jim Fox said. "We have such high expectations for our team."

Duke made its first four 3-point attempts, taking a 12-2 lead about two minutes into the game. Allen had the first two 3s and was followed by Kennard and Jones.

Duke appeared primed to join Tennessee as the second Appalachian State opponent to eclipse the 100-point mark, reaching 89 points with just less than six minutes to play before backing off.

Appalachian State outrebounded its previous four opponents, but Duke finished with a 45-30 advantage on the boards.

"A little bit of disappointment for us was the rebounding," Fox said. "Outside of the rebounding, we did some good things."

NOTES: Duke leads the series 8-1, though the teams hadn't met since Nov. 28, 1987. ... Duke has won 129 consecutive non-conference games at home. ... Appalachian State dropped to 1-3 under coach Jim Fox against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents. ... This marked Duke's only non-league home game against an in-state opponent this season. ... Appalachian State, which has only one of its first six games at home, has another in-state, non-conference matchup Monday night at Charlotte. ... Duke's next game comes Tuesday night at home against Michigan State as part of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge.

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