Army excited for opportunity to face Duke, Mike Krzyzewski one last time

·2 min read

WEST POINT – The season opener on Tuesday night was barely over and Army basketball coach Jimmy Allen was anxious to get through his press conference so he could watch another game.

What Allen got was an eyeful as his next opponent, No. 9 ranked Duke, beat Kentucky, 79-71 at Madison Square Garden.

“They’re a terrific basketball team,’’ Allen said of the Blue Devils. “I know Coach K will have those guys ready to play and fired up on Friday night.’’

Coach K is 1969 West Point graduate Mike Krzyzewski. He played three seasons under Army head coach Bobby Knight, served five years in the U.S. Army and joined Knight’s coaching staff at Indiana in 1974-75. Krzyzewski left after one season to coach his alma mater. From 1975-80, he was head coach at Army, leading the Cadets to a 73-59 record and one National Invitation Tournament berth in 1978. In March 1980, Krzyzewski was named head coach at Duke.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his players against Army during a November 2018 meeting. GERRY BROOME/AP
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his players against Army during a November 2018 meeting. GERRY BROOME/AP

Coach K won five NCAA titles (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015) and has run his career record to 1,170 wins and 361 losses. He announced in June that this would be his final season at Duke.

So it was no wonder the Blue Devils added Army for the Duke Veterans Day Weekend Showcase. Duke and Army meet at 7 p.m. Friday in a game televised on ACC Network. Army then takes on Hartford at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Certainly, the highlight (of the schedule) will be the opportunity to play at Duke in Coach K’s final season,’’ Allen said.

This will mark the eighth time Krzyzewski has faced Army, all since 1996. He beat Dino Gaudio in 1996. Pat Harris, who played for Coach K, then went 0-3 coaching against his mentor, highlighted by a Nov. 1997 game (a 78-45 Army loss) marking the only time Duke visited West Point in the Coach K era.

Jim Crews (2002), Zach Spiker (2014) and Allen (2018) all met the same fate.

Army's Tommy Funk, left, and Duke's Zion Williamson (1) chase the ball during the first half of the two school's last meeting on Nov. 11, 2018. GERRY BROOME/AP
Army's Tommy Funk, left, and Duke's Zion Williamson (1) chase the ball during the first half of the two school's last meeting on Nov. 11, 2018. GERRY BROOME/AP

Army sophomore center Charlie Peterson attended a Duke game at the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium and aptly named Coach K Court about eight years ago.

“To have a chance to play on that court is surreal … it’s a dream come true for a lot of us,’’ Peterson said following Army’s win over SUNY New Paltz in the opener. But at the same time we're going to fight, we're going to battle, we're going to play all 40 (minutes). You play the game to win. Duke is definitely a great team and they've definitely got some of the best players in the nation, but we're going to go out there and fight. We have Army on our chest. That's what we do.’’

kmcmillan@th-record.com

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Army West Point U.S. Military Academy Duke University basketball