Duke Defeats Michigan State in a Clash of Two Top Collegiate Programs


Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Emmett Gaffney, Staff Writer

As part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Duke faced off against Michigan State in the Breslin Center. Michigan State was favored heavily. The matchup was a 10 (Duke) vs an 11 (Michigan State), but both teams lost the previous week, falling from their top 3 rankings. 


Duke needed a win following their embarrassing loss to Stephen F Austin. Additionally, State lost a close game to Virginia Tech, the team Duke faces next. Going into the game, Duke was already short-handed after Cassius Stanley went down indefinitely with a leg injury.


At halftime, Duke had an impressive 16 point lead. The Michigan State Spartans and their fans, dressed head to toe in white, were shocked. Duke would hold onto that lead throughout the second half and be on their way to their 8th victory.


Vernon Carey led the Blue Devils in scoring with 26 paired with 11 boards. Tre Jones had another outstanding night. He had 20 points, 12 assists, 3 steals, and outstanding perimeter defense, shutting down Cassius Winston. Matthew Hurt, Javin DeLaurier, and Joey Baker each had double-figure points.


For the Spartans, Xavier Tillman had 20 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Cassius Winston and Marcus Bingham additionally had double-digit points.


For Duke, Vernon Carey Jr may not have the swagger of Zion Williamson last year, but he is putting up Zion-esque numbers. He is a force in the paint offensively and will also get Coach K a couple of blocks per game. Also, he has been busy burying about one 3 ball per game. Additionally, Tre Jones is playing like a top 5 player in the nation. As of now, he is averaging 15 points and 7 assists. What I think is his X-Factor is his defense. Jones is an in-your-face defender and is regarded as one of, if not the, best defenders in the country.


Michigan State cannot rely strictly on Cassius Winston. The Spartans were regarded as the best team in college basketball in the preseason. Tom Izzo needs the surrounding cast of Winston to step up if they want to be title contenders.