NO. 1 DUKE REIGNS IN 2K EMPIRE CLASSIC
Updated November 23, 2019
NEW YORK (AP) — Patrick Ewing had already yanked off his tie, and soon he needed to be restrained by the Georgetown coaching staff to keep from getting tossed. Ewing was hot, the Hoyas were unraveling and the crowd at Madison Square Garden was absolutely howling over the chaos on the court.
Keeping its cool in the other huddle, top-ranked Duke was waiting to pounce.
“It was kind of crazy out there for a little bit,” Duke guard Tre Jones said.
The Blue Devils are used to playing big games at the Garden, while the improving Hoyas are still finding their way.
Mike Krzyzewski set the record for wins coaching a No. 1 team as top-ranked Duke got 20 points and 10 rebounds from tournament MVP Vernon Carey Jr. to beat Georgetown 81-73.
The Blue Devils beat Cal and the Hoyas on consecutive nights to win the 2K Empire Classic and give Krzyzewski another slice of history. Krzyzewski is 218-34 when the Blue Devils hold the top spot, a mark they hit this week in The Associated Press poll. Hall of Famer John Wooden went 217-11 while UCLA was No. 1 during his run there.
When Jones and Carey (pictured) were asked to describe what it’s like to play for Krzyzewski, the Hall of Fame coach interjected, “great.”
The Blue Devils looked it in long stretches against a Hoyas (4-2) team that made them grind for it in front of a lively crowd at the Garden.
Carey, a five-star recruit who inherited Zion Williamson’s No. 1 jersey, has become the focal point of Duke’s offense, and he had a breakthrough in New York. Carey dunked, screamed, chest-bumped and controlled the game for the Blue Devils to help keep them undefeated.
Cassius Stanley, who led the Blue Devils with 21 points, made a pair of 3s to stretch the game open and shake off Georgetown, which was looking to knock off two straight Top 25 teams. The Hoyas, picked to finish sixth in the Big East preseason poll, knocked off No. 22 Texas a night earlier and went basket-for-basket with Duke in the first half.
Omer Yurtseven led the Hoyas with 21 points.
The Garden belonged to Ewing, the crowd going wild from the moment he walked out for warmups to his introduction during starting lineups. Perhaps motivated by nostalgia or Big East boosterism, the Hoyas had the fans on their side and the game in control. Mac McClung, James Akinjo and Galen Alexander hit early 3s to push the Hoyas to an 11-point lead. This was no staid Princeton offense the Hoyas were running to stymie Duke. They pushed, they scored in transition, they outrebounded the top team in the nation and an upset appeared quite possible.
“The way we started the game was tough to come back from, especially with the atmosphere out there,” Jones said.
The Blue Devils hung tight, and Joe Baker hit a 3 that pulled them within three. Carey pulled them even with a thunderous two-handed jam and gave them a lead on a tip-in. Carey threw his head back and screamed, the Hoyas went 6 minutes without a field goal and the teams went to halftime tied 33-all.
In the consolation game, No. 22 Texas used 14 points from Matt Coleman III to beat Cal, 62-45.
Joining Carey on the all-tournament team were teammates Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley and Georgetown’s James Akinjo and Omer Yurtseven.
GEORGIA STATE WINS 2K EMPIRE CLASSIC SUB-REGIONAL TITLE
Georgia State held California Baptist without a field goal over the final 7:32 and overcame a 14-point second half deficit to earn a 69-60 win in the sub-regional championship game of the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project in Riverside, Calif.
Georgia State used a 20-5 run over an eight-minute stretch late after trailing by double figures with 12:27 to play before another 7-0 run put the game away for the Panthers as the Lancers made just four free throws over the final seven and a half minute stretch.
Kane Williams finished with 14 points and five assists to earn Tournament MVP honors, while Justin Roberts scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and swiped five steals to be named to the All-Tournament Team.
California Baptist was led by Dejon Davis who finished with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Brandon Boyd added 13 points.
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