DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski felt liking crying when Saturday afternoon's game began but he was all smiles afterward.
Freshman guard Frank Jackson scored eight points in a late four-minute stretch and Grayson Allen had 21 points to ignite No. 21 Duke, which marked the return of the Hall of Fame coach to the bench, in a 72-64 victory against Pittsburgh at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Krzyzewski missed the previous seven games after undergoing surgery on his lower back Jan. 6. He was credited with his 500th victory in games at Duke's storied home arena.
"I felt like crying when they were doing introductions," he said. "You forget how lucky you are until you have something taken away."
The Blue Devils were intent on making sure their coach had something to cherish even though he had attended most practices the past couple of weeks.
"To play well and to have coach back was huge," forward Amile Jefferson said. "He brings a sense of urgency and verve. He was in it the whole time. I think he brought what he always brings."
Jefferson scored 15 points, Jayson Tatum added 12 points and Luke Kennard had 10 points for Duke (18-5, 6-4 ACC), which has a three-game winning streak in ACC play for the first time this season. Jackson scored all eight of his points in the last nine minutes.
Krzyzewski wore a small back brace during the game, something he said was a good reminder of his situation. He mostly liked what he saw.
"We really played like we practiced," he said. "We had really good practices."
Michael Young's 24 points and Jamel Artis' 17 points led last-place Pittsburgh (12-11, 1-9), which has an eight-game losing streak. Artis (20.9) and Young (20.3) entered the game as the two leading scorers in the ACC.
"We didn't have enough help for them," Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings said
Down 60-51, Artis scored five of the next six points before Allen's 3-pointer. The Panthers had two chances to trim a four-point hole, but two empty possessions and Allen's fourth 3 in the last six minutes -- this one with 50 seconds left -- dashed the upset bid.
"I thought (our players) competed real hard and real well," said Stallings, whose team was 2-for-14 on 3s. "Duke's shot-making in the end was kind of the difference. They made shots. ... Our 2s couldn't beat their 3s there in the second half."
Tatum scored Duke's first eight points of the second half. Pittsburgh had five-minute scoring drought, but tied the game at 39-39 on Chris Jones' jumper with about 11 minutes to play.
The Panthers led until Jackson's 3-pointer with 8:31 left. Tatum added a pair of free throws. Allen followed with Duke's next five points, but the Panthers stayed within 52-49 before another 3 from Jackson, who capped his burst with jumper.
"For Frank to play how he did, he hit a couple of absolutely huge baskets for us," Krzyzewski said.
Duke was 8-for-15 on 3s in the second half after a 3-for-13 first half.
"We defended OK," Stallings said. "It's a tough game to lose, but I still have good feelings about my team. ... When we had looks, we didn't make many. And some we missed very badly."
The game was tied at 28-28 at halftime, with Duke going the last 4:55 without scoring.
The teams combined for 4 of 20 shooting on first-half 3s.
Pittsburgh shot 50 percent from the field before the break but committed eight turnovers.
Duke scored the game's first five points while the Panthers had a shot-clock violation. But Pittsburgh went ahead 18-13 as the half's midway mark approached before Harry Giles sparked a surge that sent Duke up 28-22.
-- Duke went 4-3 under Jeff Capel as the interim coach.
-- Duke avenged a loss last year at Pittsburgh.
-- This was the first of four meetings as ACC members that wasn't decided by a double-figure margin.
-- Duke used its ninth different starting lineup Saturday.
-- Pittsburgh was coming off Tuesday night's two-point loss at North Carolina, matching a season-high with 13 baskets from 3-point range.
-- Pittsburgh completes a three-game road stretch Wednesday night at Boston College.
-- Duke is back in action against visiting North Carolina on Thursday night.