November 27, 2017 / 6:47 AM / in 7 months

No. 1 Duke storms back to stun No. 7 Florida

No. 1 Duke storms back to stun No. 7 Florida

PORTLAND, Ore. — After Duke was tested in the first two games of the Phil Knight 80 Invitational, there was no reason to think the Blue Devils were going to cruise in the championship game of the Motion Bracket.

No. 1 Duke put away pesky Portland State and Texas on the first two days, only to set up a meeting with No. 7 Florida.

Buoyed by a late run, the Blue Devils stormed back from a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Gators 87-84 on Sunday night.

“It was another unbelievable game... it’s been a privilege for us to be here,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I think (Florida) could beat anybody, they’re so difficult to defend. ... They’re experienced.”

Tournament MVP Marvin Bagley III finished with his third consecutive double-double, collecting 30 points and 15 rebounds to lead Duke (8-0). He became the first player in school history to put up at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in consecutive games.

Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen scored 14 points, including a huge 3-pointer late. Gary Trent Jr. contributed 15 points, including a 4-for-4 showing from the free-throw line in the final minute. Trevon Duval added 11 points and six assists.

“We have a special group, they’re so young,” Krzyzewski said. “To be in these experiences and not give up, our guys just made a lot of plays.”

Jalen Hudson finished with team highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds for Florida (5-1). Chris Chiozza was special all-around, controlling the game with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

“Chris is the biggest microcosm of it. He was incredibly tough and resilient,” Florida coach Mike White said. “Coming off a bunch of minutes, three games in four days and he’s beat up, he scrapped and he fought.”

KeVaughn Allen had 15 of his 17 points in the first half for the Gators, while Egor Koulechov added 15 points and six rebounds.

“Really tough loss, had a huge opportunity in front of us and really played well for 35 minutes,” White said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We just couldn’t finish against a terrific team.”

Trailing by 10 with 4:35 to play, Duke went on a 13-2 run to take an 85-84 lead with a minute to play. Bagley was sensational in the surge, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds.

After Florida missed at the other end, Duke was called for a shot-clock violation when Allen’s 3-point attempt didn’t get off in time, giving the Gators 23.7 seconds to win it.

However, Trent stole the ball for Duke and hit two free throws with 8.9 seconds left, extending the lead to three and giving the Gators one last chance.

Florida’s final play broke down, forcing Koulechov to heave up an off-balance shot that clanged off the side of the backboard.

“We just have heart, that’s pretty much all that is,” Bagley said of the comeback. “We got stops at the end ... that got us back into the game. We just didn’t give up. I’m just happy to be a part of a team who fights to the end no matter what the situation.”

The Gators were in complete command as they used a 13-0 run midway through the second half for a commanding 74-57 lead before Duke’s comeback started.

Florida came out on fire to start the game, knocking down five 3-pointers en route to a 24-10 lead. Allen couldn’t miss from deep as the Gators played inside-out basketball. Chiozza often got it started with a drive and then would kick it to Allen or drop it to a post player, who would then pass out of the double team.

With the lead continuing to swell, Trent and Allen took over with Duke trailing by 10. The Blue Devils went on a 22-5 run over a four-minute stretch to regain the lead. Trent and Allen combined to score 17 of the 22 points with five 3-pointers.

After Duke had its largest lead of the half at 46-39, a late 14-3 Florida run gave the Gators a 53-49 advantage at the break.

NOTES: Nike founder Phil Knight — for whom the tourney is named — sat courtside ... Knight was joined courtside by Oregon football head coach Willie Taggart, fresh off the Ducks’ 69-10 Civil War win over Oregon State on Saturday. ... Duke F Marvin Bagley III is widely considered the top NBA Draft prospect for the upcoming draft. Bagley, who averaged 27.3 points and 15 rebounds in the tournament, has six double-doubles in eight games. ... Florida finished with a tournament-high 40 3-pointers made. ... The Gators averaged 101 points per game in the tourney. ... Florida’s backcourt of Jalen Hudson, KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza all received tournament honors.

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