EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Vernon Carey Jr. showed Michigan State exactly what it’s missing.
Carey had 26 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to help No. 10 Duke dominate the 11th-ranked Spartans in an 87-75 victory Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-10, 270-pound freshman was recruited hard by Michigan State and seemed very interested in attending the school, but ended up signing with the Blue Devils and came back to haunt coach Tom Izzo.
“He’s a load in there,” Izzo said.
Duke (8-1) looked like one of the top teams in the country and not a rebuilding one a week after losing at home to Stephen F. Austin.
“If we played like this last week, we would’ve won two games instead of one,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But we didn’t because we’re learning.”
Blue Devils guard Tre Jones scored 20 points, matched a career high with 12 assists and made three steals as part of a defensive effort that forced several turnovers early in the game and a total of 14.
Cassius Winston made a 3-pointer to pull the Spartans within eight early in the second half.
Carey answered the surge with a three-point play and a layup to restore a double-digit advantage the Blue Devils had no trouble maintaining.
Xavier Tillman, perhaps wearing No. 23 for the last time because Draymond Green’s jersey was retired by Michigan State at halftime, scored 20 points and Marcus Bingham added 13.
Aaron Henry was held to two points after entering the game averaging 12-plus for the Spartans.
Duke: Carey and Jones looked like the sort of stars the Blue Devils can build around to become one of the best teams in the country.
“We’ve got to be more consistent with this play now,” Jones said. “We can’t have any lapse like we did last week.
Michigan State: Izzo has a lot of work to do in trying to rally a team that has been reeling since Winston’s brother died last month.
“It’s my job to get them ready and I’m going to do a better job of getting them ready,” Izzo said. “I won’t panic like most fans because I’ve been here before.”
IN THE RAFTERS
Green’s jersey was retired during a halftime ceremony that included a slew of former Spartans, including Steve Smith, whose No. 21 has also been retired.
The Golden State Warriors star said he isn’t sure if he’ll let Tillman continue to wear his number, adding he isn’t sure he has that much power.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville players and coach Chris Mack cared more about protecting the basket against Michigan than defending their new perch atop the rankings.
Fulfilling that priority helped the Cardinals succeed in their season debut as the nation’s No. 1 team.
Jordan Nwora had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Louisville held No. 4 Michigan to a season-low 26% shooting mark for a 58-43 victory Tuesday night in its first game since returning to No. 1.
The Cardinals (8-0) shot just 37% but their defense stifled Michigan (7-1) much of the night as they earned a signature victory in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge one day after claiming the top spot in the AP Top 25 for the first time in six years. Though their second-year coach has downplayed rankings, the win was significant for a program he has guided back into the national championship discussion following a sex scandal and the school’s involvement in a federal corruption investigation of college basketball.
Players seem more focused on building on it.
“Our season’s not over yet,” Cardinals guard Lamarr Kimble said. “No. 1’s just a number. We’re going to continue to get better.”
As for Mack, he was most satisfied with how his team denied just about everything Michigan attempted while passing or shooting, holding the Wolverines to just better than half their scoring average (82.4 points per game). That mattered on a night when baskets were nearly as hard to come by for the Cardinals.
“The story of the game was just our defensive effort, from the beginning of the game all the way through,” Mack said. “We probably played 38½ minutes as good a defense as we can play, outside of maybe the first minute of the second half.”
Louisville answered the Wolverines’ 6-0 spurt that got them to 30-26 with a 10-0 run keyed by six points and a couple of pivotal rebounds from Nwora, who tied his season high on the boards.
“That’s really been a big focus for us, being strong on D,” Nwora said.
The Cardinals also kept the Wolverines and first-year coach Juwan Howard from adding another top-10 upset to the ones that helped them enter the Top 25 and match Kansas (1989) for the biggest jump from being unranked in the 70-year history of the poll.
“Give them credit,” Howard said. “They do a great job of defending. Unfortunately, they did a good job of keeping us out of the paint.”
Steven Enoch had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Dwayne Sutton pulled down 11 boards as Louisville topped Michigan 48-41 in that category.
Jon Teske had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who were seeking their first victory over a No. 1 team since beating Duke 81-73 at home on Dec. 13, 1997.
Michigan: After a strong shooting stretch that keyed wins over No. 6 North Carolina and No. 8 Gonzaga to take the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, the Wolverines fell back to Earth. They began 2 of 13 from the field and never really recovered. They were outscored 22-16 in the paint, and getting those points was a challenge against the pack line defense.
Louisville: The Cardinals weren’t sharp by any means but passed their first big test against high-profile competition. Their defense limited chances inside and forced Michigan into perimeter shots that often missed. They also were able to string together enough small runs to gain some space.
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