- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The whereabouts of Grayson Allen’s legs were the least of Duke’s problems on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Two days after being reprimanded by the Atlantic Coast Conference following a second tripping incident in less than a month, Allen kept his feet to himself while scoring 22 points but the 15th-ranked Blue Devils were never in it during a 76-62 loss to the Panthers.

“They just put it on us for 40 minutes and we never really responded,” Allen said. “All the hustle stats they got, such as loose balls and rebounds, it was all theirs.”

Duke (21-9, 10-6) was outrebounded 39-20, outscored in the paint 24-6 and never led while allowing the Panthers to pull an upset that didn’t look or feel like one.

“We just didn’t play well and they made us not play well,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We might have played great tonight and not beat them.”

The Blue Devils trailed 10-0 before the game was 5 minutes old. They drew within 39-32 at halftime but the Panthers (20-8, 9-7) responded with a 9-1 run. Luke Kennard’s 3-pointer pulled Duke to 58-48 but Pitt reeled off the next 11 points and the defending national champions spent the final minutes listening to the Panthers’ student section roar with delight with a season-defining performance.

“We’ve been through a long month where our kids have just played their butts off and have won amazing games,” Krzyzewski said. “We did not play our butts off today. The team we’re playing against did.”

Jamel Artis led Pitt with 17 points. James Robinson added 14 points, seven assists and three rebounds against just one turnover in his school-record 130th start, and his last one at the Petersen Events Center as the Panthers beat a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

“We’re a team that’s matured and come together and played our best basketball and our seniors are playing their best basketball,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “James Robinson is playing his best basketball. We’ve let him down in a few of these losses to ranked teams but I thought we made up for it.”

STAYING “SMART”

Krzyzewski defended the way the Blue Devils handled the fallout from Allen’s second entanglement with an opponent this season. The sophomore guard stuck his left leg out and tripped Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes with 3.4 seconds left in Duke’s 15-point romp on Thursday night. That incident happened after Rathan-Mayes appeared to grab the back of Allen’s jersey in an attempt to fling himself down court. Allen received a flagrant foul for tripping Louisville’s Ray Spalding earlier this month.

The ACC issued a statement on Friday taking Allen to task for his involvement but declined to discipline him further. Krzyzewski believes it was the right call. The Hall of Famer spoke to his leading scorer after the Florida State game and Krzyzewski apologized to Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton before calling the league.

“I would not suspend any player for what would be a flagrant 1,” Krzyzewski said. “What he got was the stiffest reprimand a player in our conference has gotten this year. I thought the (ACC) took action and you’ve got to move on. The world doesn’t move on, because it’s Duke.”

Allen was jeered mercilessly Pitt’s student section - heavily armed with signs highlighting his misdeeds - and while he made 6 of 13 shots he also turned it over four times and failed to make a real impact, though neither did most of his teammates. Allen doesn’t believe the issue will linger heading into March.

“It’s just being smart,” he said. “I’ve had to be smart all season. Obviously I made a mistake and I messed up.”

TIP-INS

Duke: Brandon Ingram scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half. Kennard ended up with 11 points. … Junior guard Matt Jones had four points and two rebounds in his second game back from a sprained ankle. … The Blue Devils made just 11 of 32 3-point attempts. … Senior center Marshall Plumlee didn’t even attempt a shot in 28 minutes, finishing scoreless for the first time all season, though he did have four rebounds and two assists. … Duke finished 5-4 on the road in the ACC.

Pitt: The Panthers outrebounded Duke 39-20 and shot 50 percent (28 of 56) from the field, including 8 of 20 from 3-point range. … Artis said “Duke is a good team but we’re a better team and we showed it tonight.”

UP NEXT:

Duke: hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Pitt: plays at Virginia Tech on Wednesday.


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