The top-ranked Duke Blue Devils are using the combination of their experienced players and young up and coming stars to prove that they are the best team in the country early on this season. They did so again on Tuesday night by pulling away for an 88-81 win over No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic. Despite losing freshman star Marvin Bagley III after he was poked in the eye during the first half, the Blue Devils showcased their depth, led by their only senior, Grayson Allen. The controversial shooter had a career-high 37 points, including seven three-pointers, to help his team stay ahead of the Spartans for just about all of the second half. Trevon Duval added 17 points and 10 assists, helping the Blue Devils improve to 3-0, while handing MSU their first loss in their second game of the year. Allen had 23 of his points and five of his three-pointers come after halftime, as Coach K improved to 12-1 against Michigan State in his coaching career. Wendell Carter Jr. contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds for Duke in the 42nd ranked matchup between the two schools. Miles Bridges, Jared Jackson Jr., and Nick Ward had 19 points apiece in the loss for the Spartans. They will return home to host Stony Brook on Sunday, while Duke will play host to Southern University on Friday night.
Kansas Edges Kentucky in Champions Classic
The United Center got a doubleheader of college basketball showdowns on Tuesday night, as Kansas and Kentucky provided another close top-10 matchup later in the night. The fourth-ranked Jayhawks got the best of No. 7 UK with a close 65-61 victory, putting head coach Bill Self in a tie with Roy Williams for second on the school's all-time wins list. Svi Mykhailiuk led the way with 17 points, while Devonte Graham sealed the win with free throws late. Malik Newman was also clutch at the free throw line late for the now 2-0 Jayhawks, who sent the Kentucky Wildcats to 2-1 on the young season. Newman finished with 12 points, Udoka Azubuike added 13 points in Self's 418th career win as a head coach. That puts him behind only Phog Allen on the Jayhawks' list, as he finished with 519 wins. The Wildcats fell despite Kevin Knox's game-high 20 points in Kentucky's first loss after two close wins over Vermont and Utah Valley to begin the year. The Wildcats came into the game as rare underdogs, but they fought for most of the night, including trailing by just one at the half. They will return home on Friday night for a non-conference matchup with East Tennessee State. The Jayhawks will take their perfect record home as well on Friday for a contest with South Dakota State.
Irving Returns, Celtics Win 13th Straight
The Boston Celtics have proved that, even though it may not be too easy, they can win without Kyrie Irving. Although, they didn't have to on Tuesday, as the masked star returned after missing a game with a facial fracture and led his team to their 13th straight win, 109-102, over the Nets in Brooklyn. Despite not being a fan of the mask, Irving put up 25 points in his return, which was not the first time he's worn a mask. He sported a black mask in 2012 during a 41-point outburst in New York against the Knicks. This time, it was a clear mask that he wore, which he would constantly take off during timeouts. Marcus Morris finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, who remains unbeaten since their 0-2 start. Jayson Tatum added 19 points, as the Celtics got off to a quick start, but had to pull away in the third quarter after the game was tied up at the half. The Nets had it tough due to them playing without leading scorer D'Angelo Russell, who was out with a bruised left knee. Joe Harris had 19 points, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort for the 5-9 Nets. They will play host to the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Boston's win streak may hit a road block come Thursday night when they play host to the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, who were without Kevin Durant their last time out. There is no word regarding Durant's availability for Thursday, but Irving said after Tuesday's game that he is very much looking forward to the challenge.