Duke's Derryck Thornton guards North Carolina State's Anthony Barber (12) as State's Abdul-Malik Abu (0) blocks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome
February 06, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke is pretty hard to beat when its 3s are falling. It's even tougher when the points come five at a time.

Grayson Allen scored 28 points, Luke Kennard added 26 and Duke used a key five-point possession to beat North Carolina State 88-80 on Saturday.

Kennard hit six of the Blue Devils' season-best 14 3-pointers to help them win in coach Mike Krzyzewski's return following a one-game, illness-related absence for Duke (17-6, 6-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).

''Luke's the type of guy that can just rattle off four or five 3s in a row like that, he can get real hot and it's fun to play with someone like that,'' Allen said. ''We were both able to get hot from 3. ... Luke was just getting open, knocking them down and that makes everyone else get open more.''

Abdul-Malik Abu had 16 points and a career-best 17 rebounds while Anthony ''Cat'' Barber - the league's top scorer - finished with 26 points for the Wolfpack (12-12, 2-9), who closed within three points three times down the stretch, with Barber's layup with 3 1/2 minutes left pulling them to 79-76.

''They answered us, we answered them,'' N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. ''They couldn't really throw the knockout punch on us.''

The closest they came was that five-point possession.

Brandon Ingram was fouled by Lennard Freeman while shooting a 3-pointer with 3:19 left. He made two free throws but missed the third, and the rebound was batted around to Kennard. Allen swished a 3 - the Blue Devils' only field goal in the final 10 1/2 minutes - to make it 84-76.

Ingram finished with 14 points and Marshall Plumlee added 12 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who have won two straight since falling out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2007. They had Coach K for this one - he missed the trip to Georgia Tech after falling ill and wound up watching that game from a Duke University Hospital room.

Krzyzewski joked that when he returned to practice, ''I asked them, `Is it alright to be here?' They said, `Yeah.' I said, `That's smart of you because I still control playing time.'''

This one matched the ACC's top two scorers: Barber, who averages a league-best 23.4 points, had put up at least 30 in his previous three games and four of his last five. Allen was second at 20.6 points.

Maverick Rowan scored 17 points with four 3s and Cody Martin added 13 points for N.C. State, which trailed by 10 in the first half but clawed back and went up 52-50 on Abu's alley-oop dunk from Barber with 16 1/2 minutes left.

Duke countered with a Kennard-led 18-4 run and took its largest lead at 67-54 on Allen's free throw with 10:41 to play.

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TIP-INS

N.C. State: Saturday marked the 28th anniversary of the Wolfpack's last win in Cameron Indoor Stadium against a Krzyzewski-coached Duke team. N.C. State did beat the Blue Devils here in 1995 when he was out due to back surgery and exhaustion.

Duke: Allen hit all 12 of his free throws and finished five points shy of the career high he set two months ago against Long Beach State. ... Kennard, a freshman, was four points from his season high set last month against Notre Dame.

INJURY REPORT

Allen gave the Cameron crowd a scare midway through the first half, when he went down hard while driving the lane and grabbed his right ankle. It turned out to be a false alarm - after briefly ducking into a hallway with a trainer, Allen was back on the floor 90 seconds later. A relived Krzyzewski, reflecting back on that sequence, said, ''It ain't going to be good the rest of the year if he's gone.''

HE SAID IT

Krzyzewski said he watched the Georgia Tech game from a seventh-floor hospital bed with his trademark intensity: ''Probably (the other patients) learned a few new words up there.''

UP NEXT

N.C. State plays host to Wake Forest on Feb. 13.

Duke plays host to No. 19 Louisville on Monday night.

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

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