NEW YORK — Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour started with a win thanks to his latest group of stellar freshmen at Duke.
Trevor Keels scored 25 points and classmate Paolo Banchero added 22 to help the No. 9 Blue Devils open their coach’s final season by beating 10th-ranked Kentucky 79-71 on Tuesday night in the nightcap of the Champions Classic.
“It was an amazing game that felt so good with the Garden crowd and playing against an outstanding team,” Krzyzewski said. “They are tough. and we are tough. That was a big-time game. Really big time.”
Krzyzewski announced that he would retire at the end of the season. The Hall of Famer has won 1,098 games and five national championships in his 42 years coaching the Blue Devils. Overall he has 1,171 wins, the most in the history of the sport.
“We wanted to get this win for Coach in this first game,” Banchero said. “We had a chance to make a statement with this game and come out and play well. That’s what we were thinking about coming in.”
The two basketball blue bloods, who have quite the history between them on the game’s biggest stage, put on a spectacular show to open the season. The loud split crowd at Madison Square Garden that included many members of the New York Knicks and Bruce Springsteen was on its feet for most of the second half.
Duke, which led by four at the half, built the advantage to 15 with just under 10 minutes left behind Keels. The Wildcats wouldn’t go away, scoring the next 11 points to get within 69-65 on a three-point play by Oscar Tshiebwe with 6:07 left.
That’s as close as Kentucky could get.
“We got it to four and then we’ll watch the tape,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Two shots blocked. All I said all week is if you drive, don’t get it blocked.”
Keels scored on the Blue Devils’ next possession and Banchero followed with a three-point play after a huge block by Mark Williams to start a 7-0 run.
Kentucky only got within eight the rest of the way.
“We’re never going to back down from a fight, we’ll always play to the end,” said Kentucky’s Jacob Toppin.
Tshiebwe finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler added 16 points and 10 assists for the Wildcats.
With this being Krzyzewski’s last game at MSG, the Garden front office staff presented his family with a few gifts before the game. They made a donation to the Emily K Center and gave him a framed photo mosaic that had more than 300 images from his time at MSG. Finally, they gave him six bottles of wine, each with a custom label from some of his top moments at the Garden, including his 1,000th victory and one from when he was a player for Army and his team played South Carolina at MSG.
Krzyzewski has gone 34-11 at MSG, including winning five of the last six there. The Blue Devils are 39-18 overall at the arena.
Duke hosts Army on Friday night.
UNC Greensboro 57, NC A&T 53
GREENSBORO — De’Monte Buckingham tied his career high with 28 points as UNC Greensboro narrowly defeated North Carolina A&T 57-53 on Tuesday night in the season opener.
Mohammed Abdulsalam had 11 rebounds for UNC Greensboro.
Tyler Maye had 17 points for the Aggies. Marcus Watson added 17 points and eight rebounds. Justin Whatley had eight rebounds.
Charlotte 68, Monmouth 66
CHARLOTTE — Clyde Trapp Jr. had a career-high 20 points to lead Charlotte past Monmouth 68-66 on Tuesday night in a season opener.
Jahmir Young had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte. Aly Khalifa added 11 points and Austin Butler had 10 points.
Young made two free throws with 2:04 remaining for a 68-64 lead.
Walker Miller scored 23 points for the Hawks. Shavar Reynolds Jr. added 18 points and George Papas had 10 points.
East Carolina 70, SC State 62
GREENVILLE — J.J. Miles scored 18 points as East Carolina beat South Carolina State 70-62 on Tuesday night in a season opener.
Tristen Newton added 15 points for the Pirates. Vance Jackson recorded 12 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Johnson added 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Cameron Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. TJ Madlock added 11 points and six rebounds, and Jemel Davis had three blocks.
Davidson 93, Delaware 71
DAVIDSON — Michigan State transfer Foster Loyer had a big debut for the Wildcats, scoring 27 points to lead Davidson to a 93-71 win Tuesday over Delaware.
Loyer made 10 of 12 shots, including all six of his 3-point attempts, to lead the Wildcats to the win. Sam Mennenga had a double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds) and five assists as one of three other Davidson players in double figures.
Dylan Painter had 17 points and six rebounds for the Blue Hens.
High Point 108, Shenandoah 59
HIGH POINT — John-Michael Wright scored 23 points as High Point easily beat Shenandoah 108-59 in a season opener on Tuesday night.
Zach Austin added 20 points for the Panthers. Austin also had nine rebounds and four blocks.
Bryson Childress had 14 points for High Point. Jaden House added 12 points and six rebounds.
Zach Riddle had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Hornets. Jaylen Williams added six rebounds.
Campbell 85, Peace 50
BUIES CREEK — Jesus Carralero came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points as Campbell easily dispatched Peace 85-50 in Tuesday’s season opener. Jordan Whitfield added 14 points for the Camels, and Cedric Henderson Jr. and Ricky Clemons both had seven assists in the win.
Nine different players scored for Peace, but none reached double-digits. Freshman Rashod Rouse and senior Donolly Tyrell Jr. each had nine points in the loss.
Western Carolina 79, Bowling Green 71 (OT)
CULLOWHEE — Western Carolina overcame losing a second-half lead to give coach Justin Gray a win in his debut as the Catamounts’ coach, winning 79-71 in overtime over Bowling Green. Valparasio transfer Nick Robinson (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Kansas State import Joe Petrakis (14 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles to lead the Catamounts. Junior Vonterius Woolbright came off the bench to score seven points with eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Bowling Green super senior Daeqwon Plowdon had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Falcons in the loss.
Illinois State 68, UNC Wilmington 63
NORMAL, Ill. — UNC Wilmington squandered a nine-point halftime lead and lost its season opener 68-63 at Illinois State. The Seahawks held the Redbirds to just 23 first-half points and led 32-23 at the break, but Illinois State outscored UNCW 45-31 in the second half to earn the season-opening win.
Antonio Reeves had 29 points for the Redbirds to lead all scorers. The Seahawks had four players in double figures, led by guard Shykeim Phillips’ 14 points. Guard Jaylen Sims had 10 rebounds for UNCW.
Iona 65, Appalachian State 53
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Dylan van Eyck had 17 points and eight rebounds as Iona defeated Appalachian State 65-53 on Tuesday night in a season opener.
Tyson Jolly had 19 points for Iona. Nelly Junior Joseph added 12 points. Berrick JeanLouis had three blocks.
Adrian Delph had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Mountaineers. James Lewis Jr. added nine rebounds.
Richmond 70, North Carolina Central 60
RICHMOND, Va. — Jacob Gilyard had 14 points, seven steals and six rebounds as Richmond topped North Carolina Central 70-60 in the season opener for both teams on Tuesday night.
Grant Golden had 19 points for Richmond (1-0). Tyler Burton added 14 points.
Alex Caldwell had 17 points and six rebounds for the Eagles (0-1). Marque Maultsby added 11 points. Kris Monroe had seven rebounds.
Florida 74, Elon 61
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Colin Castleton and Myreon Jones each scored 18 points and Florida cruised to a 74-61 victory over Elon on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Castleton, a senior who had entered the NBA Draft, scored 17 points in the first half and finished 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Jones, a Penn State transfer who led the Nittany Lions last season averaging 15.3 points, made 6 of 13 shots and was 4 of 8 from long range.
Michael Graham scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Elon. Hunter McIntosh added 15 points and Torrence Watson had 10.
UAB 102, UNC Asheville 77
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Jordan Walker and Quan Jackson scored 19 points apiece as UAB rolled past UNC Asheville 102-77 on Tuesday night in a season opener.
Tavin Lovan and Michael Ertel each added 13 points for the Blazers. KJ Buffen chipped in 11.
LJ Thorpe had 16 points for the Bulldogs. Drew Pember added 14 points and Tajion Jones had 10 points.