No. 1 Duke visits Portland State in PK80 Invitational (Nov 23, 2017)
Duke and Portland State have vastly different basketball histories, but connections to Phil Knight have brought them together.
They’re participating in the PK80 Invitational, which honors the Nike icon’s 80th birthday.
Top-ranked Duke (5-0) and Portland State (4-0) meet in one of the 16-team event’s opening-day games Thursday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said it’s a chance to learn different things about the Blue Devils as they’ll be tested in various ways.
“This is a very difficult stretch,” Krzyzewski said. “Hopefully, we’ll grow up a lot during it.”
This will mark the first time Portland State ever faces a top-ranked team. The Vikings have tangled with a No. 2 team twice, including an 89-39 loss at Duke on Dec. 30, 1997.
First-year coach Barret Peery said the Vikings will look to show progress throughout the season. For Portland State, this is a chance to showcase the program.
“We want to (show) the best product that we can possibly give,” Peery said.
Duke’s busy early schedule is about to become even more hectic. By the middle of next week, Duke will have had a stretch of four games in seven days — none of them at home.
“These games are what we work for every day in practice,” freshman forward Marvin Bagley III said, knowing there will be additional exposure even for the Blue Devils.
Bagley is the third freshman in Duke history with three games with 20 or more points across his first five games, joining Jabari Parker (2013-14) and Johnny Dawkins (1982-83).
Krzyzewski carries a 199-29 record when Duke holds the No. 1 ranking. This marks the 500th week that Duke has been ranked in the Top 10 under Krzyzewski, reflecting the most for any men’s coach.
Krzyzewski said Duke’s relationship with Nike has been special for the university and a boost for his program. He said the Blue Devils’ rise to prominence came as Nike grew as well.
“It will be an honor to be out there,” Krzyzewski said of the opportunity to honor Knight.
Duke has played twice previously in Portland, winning both games. Seven years ago, it was a homecoming game for Kyle Singler, who scored 30 points when the Blue Devils defeated Oregon at what was then called the Rose Garden.
Portland State is averaging 92 points per game, so it has a higher team scoring average than Duke (90.8).
The Vikings played in the Coliseum, the site of Thursday’s meeting, when they defeated Utah State 83-79 on Monday.
“We found a way,” Peery said.
Portland State hadn’t played at that venue since March 2005, though its all-time record there is 19-6 since become a Division I member.
Senior guard Bryce Canda of Portland State is the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week. He averaged 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds during a recent three-game stretch.
The Vikings are the only Big Sky Conference team without a loss this month. They were also 4-0 three years ago.
Peery is a former assistant coach at Arizona State and Santa Clara, both under coach Herb Sendek — who once directed the program at Duke neighbor North Carolina State.