Allen scored a team-high 25 points, including a 3-point dagger with a little more than a minute left to lift the Blue Devils to a 78-66 win against North Carolina on Thursday in a game that has far greater implications for Duke than merely a win against its rival.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. For the first time in a very long time, Allen's performance and all of the talk afterward was only about what he did and what his team did - in victory.
Beating North Carolina doesn't mean everything is flawless.
WXII 12 News' Brian Formica will be at the game and will provide updates throughout the evening. He's averaged 21.5 points over the aforementioned stretch, a significant improvement over his season average of 15.8 points, but he's also elevated Duke's overall play by simply being the player he's expected to be. Stuck on the bench for the final hair-raising minute of the game, Allen looked more like a Cameron Crazy than an All-American, living and dying with each shot. UNC's 3-point percentage (37.5) is also better than in the previous three seasons, including when the Tar Heels won last year's Atlantic Coast Conference championship and reached the NCAA title game while shooting just 32.7 percent.
This isn't the first time Allen has been trolled, and it certainly won't be the last.
The renewal of one of college basketball's fiercest rivalries lived up to its pedigree, with 17 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than eight points. The Tar Heels look much better whenever Pinson is on the court.
Highly touted freshman Harry Giles will likely fail to reach 100 percent this season while recovering from a multitude of knee injuries in high school, but fellow freshmen Jayson Tatun and Frank Jackson are ready to step up. They went on an 18-6 run over the next five minutes to go ahead 64-59.
North Carolina drops to 21-5 with the loss and 9-3 in the ACC, putting them into a tie for first place with Florida State. Ortlepp, who was scoreless in the first half, exploded early in the third quarter hitting four 3-pointers. Duke's won those four games by an average of seven points.
Whether it was the Duke players or the elated fans that had just finished cheering them on, they'd all waited for this. North Carolina (21-4, 9-2 in conference) is now sitting at number 8 in the national NCAA rankings and number one in the ACC, due in large part to the great play of their bigs Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, along with some increasing contributions from guards Joel Berry and Justin Jackson.