#5/4 Duke Blue Devils [10-1, 0-0] vs. #UR Tennessee State (TSU) Tigers [8-2, 0-0]

December 19, 2016 • 7:00 PM ET • Durham, NC • Cameron Indoor Stadium

Media: ESPN2, Local Radio, Watch ESPN app

By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson]


Team Overviews


No. 5/4 Duke, winners of eight in a row, returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a meeting with Tennessee State to close this season’s home non-conference slate. The Blue Devils have won the third-most games (220) and have the fourth-best winning percentage (.821) in the nation this decade. Duke has won an NCAA-best 131 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to 2000


  • Led by Luke Kennard (20.0), Duke has five players averaging double figures and leads the nation in offensive efficiency at an average of 122.6 points per 100 possessions. Kennard ranks second in the ACC in scoring. Over Duke’s last four games, he is averaging 25.0 points while shooting .581 from the floor, .429 from the arc and .889 from the line.
  • Amile Jefferson is averaging 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds in Duke’s last four games. He leads the ACC and ranks eighth nationally in field goal percentage with a mark of .673. Jefferson is tied for the ACC lead with six double-doubles, good for the eighth-most in the nation.
  • Jayson Tatum has been nearly automatic from the free throw line, making 15-of-16 (.938) as Duke has shot .757 from the line as a team over its last four games.
  • Grayson Allen has made 12 of his last 25 shots from long-range (.480) and ranks third in the ACC in threes per game (2.70).

Probable Starters

Guard – Sophomore Grayson Allen

Guard – Junior Matt Jones

Guard –Sophomore Luke Kennard

Guard – Freshman Frank Jackson

Forward – Grad Student Amile Jefferson

Tennessee State

Tennessee State makes its first ever trip to historic Cameron Indoor Stadium for its first all-time meeting with Duke. TSU is 8-2 through 10 games for the second year in a row.

Since joining Division I prior to the 1977-78 season, Tennessee State has gone 1-33 versus teams in the AP Top 25. TSU’s win came on February 9, 2012 at #9 Murray State, 72-68. Tennessee State will be playing its ninth game away from home and its sixth game outside of the Central Time Zone.

TSU is 0-9 in games versus ACC opponents including an overtime loss at NC State this season on December 10. The Tigers are also 0-5 versus Louisville and 0-1 versus Virginia Tech in games played prior to Louisville and Virginia Tech joining the ACC.


  • Tennessee State and Duke will be matching up for the first time.
  • TSU has gone 0-9 in games versus ACC opponents.
  • Against teams that currently make up the ACC, TSU is 0-15, including five games versus Louisville and one versus Virginia Tech before joining the ACC.
  • This is TSU’s second trip to the state of North Carolina this season. The Tigers took NC State to overtime before falling, 67-55, on December 10.

Probable Starters

Guard – RS Senior Jordan Reed

Guard – RS Senior Tahjere McCall

Guard – Junior Derreon Reddick

Forward – RS Senior Wayne Martin

Forward/Center – Junior Ken’Darrius Hamilton

Last Time Out


The Blue Devils moved to 2-2 when facing UNLV following Saturday’s result.

Duke used the starting lineup of Chase Jeter, Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard, Matt Jones, and Amile Jefferson for the fifth time this season and owns a 4-1 record with those five players on the floor to start the game.

Duke has scored over 70 points in 11 straight games to open a season for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign, when the Blue Devils posted 15-straight 70+ point games.

The Blue Devils improved to 85-26 all-time when competing as the fifth-ranked team in the nation. Duke improved to 5-0 this season when netting at least 90 points in a contest. The Blue Devils’ 49-point margin of victory is the largest of the season, besting the previous high of 45, which came against Marist in the season-opener.

Duke has scored 90-or-more points in five of its first 11 games for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign and is averaging 86.3 PPG this season.

Blue Devils on the Glass

Graduate student Amile Jefferson collected 12 boards, bringing his career total to 766, moving him into 20th on Duke’s all-time career list. Duke collected 40 rebounds, the fourth game this season with 40-or-more boards.

Duke’s Offensive Output

Junior Grayson Allen concluded the game with a career-high 34 points on 12-of-16 (.750) shooting, his fourth 20-point game of the season and the 24th of his career, as well as his fifth career 30-point game. Duke is 20-4 when Allen nets at least 20 points. Allen’s 12 made field goals are a career high.

Amile Jefferson recorded 10 points on 4-of-6 (.667) shooting, marking his 10th-straight double-digit scoring game. Jefferson’s 10-point, 12-rebound performance marked his sixth double-double of the season and the 14th of his career. Duke is 12-2 when Jefferson posts a double-double.

The Blue Devils scored a season-high 50 points in the paint against UNLV, bringing their season total to 422 points scored in the lane. Forty-five percent of Duke’s points have come in the paint this season. Duke has posted at least 30 points in the paint in all 11 games this year.

Sophomore Luke Kennard connected on 2-of-5 (.400) three-pointers, his 11th straight game with at least one made three. Kennard also dished four assists, bringing his season total to 36. Kennard reached 36 assists in the 28th game of last season’s campaign.

Duke went into the break with a 42-26 lead, the seventh time this season, and the third-straight game, the Blue Devils scored at least 40 points before halftime. Duke is 7-0 when netting at least 40 points in the opening half.

Duke shot 10-of-22 (.455) from beyond the arc, the best shooting from three-point range for the Blue Devils this season.

Jefferson contributed five assists, his second five-assist game this year. His 24 assists this season rank fourth on the team this season.

Duke on the Defensive End

Duke forced UNLV into committing 21 turnovers (including 13 in the first half), the team’s ninth game forcing an opponent into at least 10 turnovers. The Blue Devils are 8-1 in such contests.

Duke converted UNLV’s 21 turnovers into 22 points. The Blue Devils’ 22 points off turnovers matched the second most of the season.

Luke Kennard registered three steals in the contest, matching a career high.

Duke held UNLV to just 29.6 percent shooting (16-of-54) from the field, the second time this season a Duke opponent failed to shoot at least 30.0 percent from the floor. Duke is 2-0 this season when holding opponents to under 30.0 percent shooting.

UNLV scored 45 points, the fewest by a Duke opponent this season, and the lowest score total by Blue Devil opposition since Presbyterian netted 44 Nov. 14, 2014.


  • NA

Tennessee State

The Tennessee State men’s basketball team put on a dominating defensive performance on Wednesday night at the Gentry Center, defeating visiting Alabama State by a 68-46 final score. Jordan Reed (Philadelphia, Pa.) posted a team-high 13 points to go with 13 rebounds for Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

Tennessee State (8-2) held the Hornets (1-9) to 25.4 percent shooting (15-for-59) and limited ASU to 13 first-half points. The Tigers also finished with 10 blocks and forced 21 turnovers.

Tennessee State sprinted out of the gate with an early 8-2 advantage four minutes into the game. TSU’s defense locked the Hornets down as the Tigers’ lead grew to double-digits at 22-12 on the second first-half three from Darreon Reddick (Belleville, Ill.) with 7:49 to go before halftime.

Tennessee State closed the first half on a 24-1 run, keeping the Hornets without a field goal for the last 8:47 of the half for a 40-13 halftime edge. The Tigers held Alabama State to 18.5 percent shooting (5-for-27) in the first half and forced ASU in 11 first-half turnovers.

TSU reached 50 points in a frantic sequence where Christian Mekowulu (Lagos, Nigeria) and Xavier Williams (Fairfield, Ala.) had blocks on ASU’s offensive possession leading to a three from Delano Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) on the other end for a 50-19 lead with 14:20 left in the game.

The Tigers continued to dominate throughout the second half, leading by as many as 32 points with just over 12 minutes to play.

McCall dished out six assists to facilitate the offense with Mekowulu scoring in double figures with 12.

Tony Armstrong scored a team-best 13 points for the Hornets on the night.


  • TSU moves to 19-9 in the all-time series versus Alabama State… It is TSU’s first win in the series since the 1977-78 season… Tennessee State is 8-2 through 10 games for the second year in a row… Nine different TSU players scored in the first half… The 13 points allowed by TSU in the first half were the fewest this season. It is the second time TSU has held an opponent under 20 points this season… The Tigers are now 2-0 at the Gentry Center this season and 18-11 in Head Coach Dana Ford’s three-year tenure… The previous most blocks TSU had in a game this season was five on four occasions. It is the first time TSU has had 10 or more blocks since recording 10 at TCU on Dec. 29, 2014.


This is the first meeting between these programs.


Duke2015-16 Regular Season Key Stats ComparisonTennessee State
23.7PPG (Scoring Margin)7.0
62.5Opponents PPG64.2
57.0Effective FG%46.9
39.1Opponent FG%37.5
36.63PT FG%35.0
28.6Opponent 3PT FG%31.3
8.0RPG (Rebound Margin)5.5
31.9Opponent RPG35.3
6.5SPG (%)8.9
3.1Turnovers Per Game (Margin)1.1
14.7Opponent TOPG15.7
16.8Fouls Per Game21.7

Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here, https://www.dukeblogger.com/four-factors-winning/.]



Tennessee State



The Tennessee State Tigers will travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the 5th ranked Duke Blue Devils this Monday night in College Basketball action.

The Tennessee State Tigers improved to 8-2 on the season after defeating the Alabama State Hornets, 68-46, this past Wednesday. Tennessee State had an outstanding 1st half and had no trouble putting away Alabama State after taking a 40-13 halftime lead. Tennessee State held Alabama State to just 25.4% shooting from the field and 14.3% (3-21) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Tigers was Jordan Reed who had 13 points, 4 rebounds, and a steal. On the season, Tennessee State is averaging 71.2 PPG on 43.7% shooting from the field. The Tigers are averaging 5.6 three-pointers per game on 37.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Tennessee State has been led by Wayne Martin (12.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG), Tahjere McCall (12.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.9 SPG), Jordan Reed (10.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.2 APG), and Ken’Darrius Hamilton (8.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG). Defensively, Tennessee State is holding their opponents to an average of 64.2 PPG on 37.7% shooting from the field. The Tigers have a rebound margin of 5.5 and a turnover margin of 1.1.

The 5th ranked Duke Blue Devils won their 7th straight game and improved to 10-1 on the season after defeating the UNLV Rebels, 94-45, this past Saturday. Duke had little trouble putting away UNLV as the Blue Devils held a 42-26 halftime lead and by at least 20 points for the majority of the 2nd half. Duke was great on the offensive end as the Blue Devils shot 58.7% from the field and 45.5% (10-22) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was Grayson Allen who had 34 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist. On the season, Duke is averaging 86.3 PPG on 50.2% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils are averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on 36.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Duke has been led by Luke Kennard (20.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.2 SPG), Grayson Allen (17.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG), Amile Jefferson (15.1 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.2 APG), and Jayson Tatum (15.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.7 APG). Defensively, Duke is holding their opponents to an average of 62.5 PPG on 39.0% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils have a rebound margin of 8.0 and a turnover margin of 3.1.

Tennessee State is of the better teams in the Ohio Valley Conference this season and is a very strong defensive team as they rank 46th in scoring defense and 23rd and defensive FG%. Duke has a great mixture of experience and young talent and has been outstanding on both sides of the ball as the Blue Devils rank T-18th in scoring offense and 26th in scoring defense.


  • NA


Tennessee State does have some big game experience this season, taking NC State to overtime but Duke is on a mission. A mission to get healthy and to catch up to the rest of the teams who haven’t been knocked off of schedule by injury. There is a possibility that Duke will have Harry Giles but there is also the possibility that he will not play. If Duke can get some minutes for Giles in this game and the next they will be set up to ease into the ACC season with all pieces accounted for.

Tennessee State does not have much of a chance to get the win in this one, however, with two great defense players in Tahjere McCall and Wayne Martin, I think the Tigers will be able to do enough to be competitive to a point. I see Duke winning 89-65.

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