Trevor Keels, a freshman, scored 25 points. Classmate Paolo Banchero added 22. 9 Duke open Mike Krzyzewski’s final season by beating 10th-ranked Kentucky 79-71 on Tuesday night in the nightcap of the Champions Classic.
Krzyzewski said that he would be retiring at the end of the current season. In his 42-year tenure as a coach for the Blue Devils, Krzyzewski won 1,098 games and five National Championships. He has 1,171 wins overall, the most in the history the sport has ever seen.
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 Madison Square Garden crowd, including many New York Knicks players and Bruce Springsteen fans, was up for most the second half.
The advantage was extended to 15 by Duke, who led by four at the break, and just under 10 minutes after 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. 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 was only eight points behind the rest.
Tshiebwe was able to finish with 17 points, and 19 rebounds. Sahvir wheeler added 16 points to the Wildcats’ total and also provided 10 assists.
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 for the Emily K Center and gave him an framed photo mosaic with more than 300 images that he took during his time at MSG.
Finally, they gave him six bottles with custom labels that featured some of his best moments at the Garden, including his 1,000th triumph and one from his time playing for Army.