Rapid Reaction: Duke 74, Michigan State 69

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
9:43
PM ET

NEW YORK -- A quick take on No. 6 Duke's 74-69 win over Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

What it means: Mike Krzyzewski collects career win No. 903, making him the all-time leader in Division I history. Coach K passed Bob Knight, his former coach and mentor, who was part of the ESPN broadcast crew for the game. Numerous former Duke players were in attendance as well, including Grant Hill, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Chris Duhon.

Duke improves to 3-0 on the season, while Michigan State falls 0-2 after losing to No. 1 North Carolina last Friday in the Carrier Classic in San Diego.

The skinny: It was a tight first half -- eight ties and five lead changes. The Blue Devils led 34-33 at the break. Andre Dawkins was the biggest reason -- he had 14 first-half points, making four of his six attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. The Spartans led by as many as six, but were undone by 11 first-half turnovers.

The second half was a different story. An early 14-2 run put Duke firmly in control, with three different players knocking down treys in that span (Dawkins, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly). The Blue Devils led by as many as 20, 61-41, and appeared on their way to an easy victory. But they got sloppy late, and allowed the Spartans to at least make the margin more respectable in the end. The final score was as close as Michigan State got down the stretch.

The replacement: Maybe Dawkins is ready to fill the shoes of Nolan Smith -- last year's ACC Player of the Year, who averaged 20.6 points per game. The 6-foot-4 junior did a good impression on Tuesday night, finishing with 26 points and shooting 6-for-10 from downtown. Dawkins had just 10 points in Duke's first two games combined, against Belmont and Presbyterian.

On the other side: Michigan State was led by sophomore guard Keith Appling, who scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half. The Spartans had 20 turnovers, and gave the Blue Devils 41 free throws, of which they made 30.

What's next: Duke returns home to face Davidson on Friday at 6 p.m. Michigan State will play its first home game of the season Friday night, versus Texas Southern.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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