GREENSBORO, N.C. -- This Duke-Elon game might be discussed for quite some time and the conversation will involve much more than another big scoring night for Luke Kennard.
It was Duke guard Grayson Allen's tripping incidence that drew most of the attention.
Kennard's 21 points propelled No. 5 Duke past Elon for a 72-61 victory on Wednesday night at Greensboro Coliseum in a game marked by Allen's antics.
"The play with Grayson was inexcusable," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We deserved those fouls called against us. ... We had already lost our composure and then we lost more."
Allen, crying in the locker room afterward, said he was ashamed for "a selfish play."
With Duke leading 32-24, Allen was called for a technical foul for a trip of Steven Santa Ana with 4:15 remaining in the first half. Then on the bench, Allen, a preseason All-American, had an animated reaction.
Allen was benched for about eight minutes in a span bridging both halves.
Last season, Allen had a couple of tripping incidences and drew a reprimand from the Atlantic Coast Conference after an end-of-game flare-up against Florida State.
Jayson Tatum added 18 points as Duke (12-1) headed into a 10-day layoff with its 10th win in a row, even though for the second time in three nights it trailed in the second half. Amile Jefferson chipped in with 13 points.
"We played well in the second half or we are not going to win this game," Krzyzewski said. "The second half was much, much better."
Brian Dawkins' 18 points and nine rebounds led the Phoenix, and Santa Ana scored 11 points. Elon (7-5) has lost four of its last five games.
"It's our hope in playing great programs, great teams, in great venues, that we are no longer wowed by the experience," Elon coach Matt Matheny said. "Then we can focus on what we need to focus on."
Duke ended up 5 of 20 on 3-point shots. Kennard was 2 of 4 on 3s en route to leading the Blue Devils in scoring for the sixth time this season.
Elon's 34-33 halftime lead marked the first time Duke trailed at the midway juncture this season. It was the first time the Phoenix have ever led a nationally ranked opponent at halftime.
The Allen technical sparked an 11-2 run for Elon to end the half. The Blue Devils missed their last 10 shots from the field before the break and shot 32.5 percent for the half.
Allen, who finished with three points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field, remained on the bench at the start of the second half. He entered with 16:29 left and picked up his third foul 15 seconds later.
By then, Duke was on the way to a 48-40 lead, scoring 16 points in barely more than four minutes.
Duke scored the game's first five points before Elon scored the next nine in building a 12-7 lead.
"We did some good things," Matheny said. "I like the way we competed. That's our hope playing these kinds of games."
Elon made five of its first nine 3-point attempts but went only 3 of 13 from long range after that.
NOTES: It was an Elon home game at the neutral site, though there was a partisan Duke crowd on hand. ... The teams met for the sixth time in seven seasons, with Duke winning each time. This was the second of those played at Greensboro Coliseum. ... Duke F Harry Giles, the top-rated recruit in the freshman class who made his debut two nights earlier after a preseason injury, scored his first college point on a second-half free throw. It was his only point. ... Elon G Luke Eddy was back after missing the previous game with a knee injury. That ended his streak of starts in 42 consecutive games. ... Duke is off until opening Atlantic Coast Conference play on Dec. 31 at Virginia Tech. ... Elon plays next Wednesday night at home against Central Penn in its final tuneup before Colonial Athletic Association play.