CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.—For the first 12 minutes Saturday, Marvin Bagley III was untouchable.

Against an undersized, seemingly overwhelmed Boston College team that had just lost its top big man for the season, he owned the paint. His towering presence declawed the Eagles' defense, scoring 10 points in that span as Duke scored 22 of its first 24 points in the paint. 

It seemed just a matter of time until the Eagles’ torrid shooting would cool off and the top-ranked Blue Devils would take over. 

But just as quickly as he burst out, the 6-foot-11 Bagley seemed to vanish from the court. Duke’s leading scorer and the owner of 10 double-doubles this season took just four shots in the second half, three of them from beyond the arc. 

The result: a Boston College team that was among the worst in the country in rebounding margin won the battle on the glass. 

The dysfunction came to a head when, with Duke up by four points with less than three minutes left, the Eagles went to a zone. Trevon Duval, a 16.7 percent 3-point shooter, took a three—and clanked it. Bagley was the only Blue Devil who did not touch the ball on the key possession.

“You have to produce in that moment and we didn’t,” Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “It’s not that we had horrible shots, it’s that we didn’t necessarily get the ball to the right people. We have to learn from it.”

With fewer feeds inside, Bagley didn’t make a 2-pointer and scored just five points in the final 28 minutes of the game. When he did get the ball, he also turned it over a team-high four times. When Duke was clinging to a one-point lead with 2:26 left, Steffon Mitchell swiped Bagley's pass in the middle of a critical three-minute scoring drought for the Blue Devils.

Just more than a minute later, Jerome Robinson nailed a 3-pointer, and the Eagles stole the game. 

“We kind of rushed everything, instead of keeping our lead that we had,” Bagley said. “I made dumb decisions toward the end. It is what it is. We’re going to learn from it and just try and get better.” 

Although the hosts lost the turnover battle overall, Boston College’s athletic guards kept their team in the game by crashing the glass. Ky Bowman had 10 boards in addition to his 30 points, and Jordan Chatman pitched in six to add to his 22 points. It wasn't the Eagles' bigs that carried them to win the rebounding battle, 35-34—Mitchell and Nik Popovic combined for just 11 boards. 

The Eagles, who entered Saturday ranked a putrid No. 265 in the country in 3-point percentage, gained the edge on the boards via their lights-out long range shooting, Krzyzewski said. 

“It will knock you back when every shot they’re taking is going in. It hurt us on our defensive rebounding a few times because when they missed, they got the ball,” Krzyzewski said. They had at least four, maybe five threes from offensive rebounding. Those are the ones that you want to eliminate. They chased down balls well.”

Despite having a weak interior presence against Duke’s bigs on offense, Boston College finished the day 15-of-26 from deep. It was yet another lackluster defensive outing from a Blue Devil team that yielded 81 points to Portland State and 80 to South Dakota.

Krzyzewski didn’t exactly mince words when asked to evaluate his defense that let maroon-clad students storm the court at Conte Forum. 

“We’re not a good defensive team,” Krzyzewski said. “But we haven’t practiced either. All we’ve done is play 12 games. We’re young. We’re talented. We’re not as deep. We’re big. That’s a different dynamic on how you have to play defense. We’ve got to get better. But if we won, I would tell you we would have to be better.”

The Blue Devils will have a long finals break to look back at the loss—they are out of action until Dec. 20 against Evansville at home. Although Krzyzewski was critical of his team’s defense, he hopes they can learn to take control at key points in the game and depend more on their go-to threats. 

“This is a very young basketball team that just happened to win and be tough in 11 games,” Krzyzewski said. “We played a really experienced perimeter today with a week of preparation. Their gameplan was great and their kids executed fantastic. They were really good.... When we get a one-point lead or a four-point lead, we need to learn critical junctures in the game.”