The Champions Classic turned out to be just that, as No. 8 Michigan State knocked off No. 6 Duke 75-69 on the road Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. It’s only Duke’s second non-conference home loss since 2000 after falling to Stephen F. Austin on their legendary home court last season.
Sophomore Rocket Watts led all Spartans scorers with 20 points in just 25 minutes on 7-16 from the floor. In a defensive battle, MSU shot just 27-63 from the field and had 15 turnovers, but was able to get enough stops late to hang on for the win.
Forward Matthew Hurt led the Blue Devils with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double. But the home team was just 20-63 from the floor, and 5-23 on the marshmallowy-soft rims of their home court. The Spartans also controlled the glass with a 46-36 advantage.
For the visitors and Tom Izzo, who closed as a four-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, they’ll take on Detroit Mercy on Friday and Western Michigan on Sunday in Lansing. If they can hang on, they’ll likely move into the top five of the AP rankings on Monday.
Duke will get two easier tests at home this weekend in Bellarmine and Elon.