HALFTIME: Georgetown 47, Duke 42



NEW YORK—The Blue Devils seem to have an affinity for playing from behind this season.

After a half of play at The World's Most Famous Arena, Duke trails Georgetown 47-42 in the championship game of the 2K Classic. Grayson Allen's 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting propelled Duke for most of the half, but the Blue Devils failed to get any player other than point guard Derryck Thornton—who poured in eight points—involved in the offense through the first 18 minutes. Duke used a 8-0 run at the end of the half to grab a 40-39 lead, but Georgetown countered with an 8-3 run to reclaim the advantage, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near halfcourt.

After coming off the bench in Friday's win against Virginia Commonwealth and scoring a career-high 30 points, Allen was back in the starting lineup for the Blue Devils this afternoon, replacing freshman Brandon Ingram. Allen seemed to be riding the same wave from his standout Friday outing, smartly attacking the lane and tacking on a pair of 3-pointers.

Both defenses were fairly stingy in the early going, as Duke opened 1-of-7 from the field, just a touch worse than Georgetown's 2-of-6 start. The Hoyas found their rhythm fairly soon, though, as they finished the half shooting 57.1 percent from the field. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland led the way for Georgetown with 15 points and three rebounds.

The Blue Devils spent the latter half of the opening period with their small-ball lineup on the court. With four perimeter players on the court—Allen, Thornton, Luke Kennard and Matt Jones—along with forward Amile Jefferson, Duke lacked anything resembling a post presence and failed to capitalize from behind the arc, bringing Marshall Plumlee back in the game for the Blue Devils—until an unexpected Chase Jeter spurt.

Jeter, who had been used sparingly this season, entered the game with the Blue Devils down 35-27 and provided Duke with a much-needed spark. He opened his second stint on the floor by slamming home an Allen miss, bringing the Duke fans at Madison Square Garden to their feet. He concluded his run by snagging a defensive rebound and firing it ahead to Allen, who found Jones in the corner for 3-pointer to give Duke a 40-39 lead.

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Luke Kennard played a vital role in Friday's win despite not scoring from the field. The rookie made sure to change that today, nailing a mid-range jumper on his first offensive possession and adding a layup a few plays later. Kennard finished the half with four points. 
  • Taking a page out of Virginia Commonwealth's book, the Blue Devils started off the game implementing a version of a full-court press, which they used to fall back into a zone defense.
  • Georgetown's Kaleb Johnson wasn't in the game long, but he made his presence felt off the bench. The freshman drained two 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater to close the half, and a pair of free throws to finish with eight points for the Hoyas.

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