It would have been easy to overlook Pittsburgh after Duke beat the Panthers by 35 on the road just 10 days ago, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils came out as fiery as ever Saturday afternoon.

Duke has kept Pittsburgh in check with an aggressive full-court press at Cameron Indoor Stadium and holds a comfortable 48-26 lead through a half of play, led by its freshmen big men in the post. Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III have combined to score 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting. The Panthers have had trouble getting set in their halfcourt offense and have turned it over 11 times, though they are shooting 50.0 percent from the field when they have been able get a shot up. 

The Blue Devils scored the game's first seven points, capped by a 3-pointer from Marvin Bagley III with no Pittsburgh defender near him, and Duke led the entire half.

With the Blue Devils leading 15-10 about six minutes into the game, Grayson Allen jumped a passing lane for a steal and bolted down the lane for an apparent breakaway dunk. But Pittsburgh sophomore Kene Chukwuka clipped him from behind, sending Allen to the ground for a hard fall. 

The senior captain bounced back up and cursed at Chukwuka before knocking down a free throw, setting up a 23-7 run for Duke. The next time Allen got a steal with nobody between him and the basket, Panther junior Jared Wilson-Frame let him go for the one-handed slam.

Gary Trent Jr. has also continued his recent hot streak, knocking down three of his four 3-point attempts—including one in the closing seconds—and taking 11 points into the halftime locker room.

Here are a few observations from the first half:

  • Sophomore forward Javin DeLaurier came off the bench to return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the Blue Devils' last three games, playing five scoreless minutes.
  • Although Duke has used a lot of the bench, with DeLaurier, Alex O'Connell and Jordan Goldwire each playing at least five minutes, none of the Blue Devils' reserves have scored.
  • At the first media timeout, Duke played a video on the scoreboard at Cameron announcing Apple CEO Tim Cook will be this spring's commencement speaker.
  • Parker Stewart has continued to emerge as Pittsburgh's top scoring option, finishing the half with 11 points after he scored a career-high 23—more than half of the team's 45 points—in a loss at Syracuse last week.