Halftime: Duke 46, Maine 32



Two five-star freshmen made their much-anticipated regular-season debuts Saturday, but a veteran duo was the tandem that stood out in the opening 20 minutes. 

As Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden got their legs under them, sophomore Luke Kennard and graduate student Amile Jefferson combined for 31 points to stake Duke a 46-32 halftime lead against Maine at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Kennard scored the team's first nine points and the Blue Devils used a 9-0 run marked by stifling defense to establish a 29-15 lead with 7:42 left in the opening period. 

With junior All-American Grayson Allen and freshman Frank Jackson sitting out Saturday's game, Duke started three frontcourt players in Tatum, Jefferson and sophomore Chase Jeter, and took advantage of that length to hold Maine to 34.3 percent shooting in the opening period. 

Allen has been battling a toe injury, but no reason has been given before Saturday's game for Jackson to be sitting out. 

Although Tatum shot just 2-of-7 from the field in 18 minutes and Bolden committed three early turnovers after coming off the bench, Kennard and Jefferson were extremely aggressive driving to the bucket. The duo went 10-of-16 from the field—many of the attempts came inside the paint—and got to the free throw line nine times. 

Maine struggled against Duke's pressure defense in the first half. Guard Ilker Er had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, but the rest of the Black Bears made just four shots.

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Tatum scored his first points down low at the 13:49 mark of the first half. The swingman looked rusty and struggled shooting to get his eight points, but had seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. After a 3-pointer late in the period, he fist-pumped. 
  • Like Tatum, Bolden looked like a player who had not played in a competitive regular-season game in several months. The center checked in at the 16:06 mark but committed a pair of quick turnovers. He scored for the first time on a tip-in at the 9:15 mark and finished the period with three points and three rebounds. 
  • Jefferson picked up a technical foul late in the period following an Er tip-in that gave Maine a four-point possession. Tatum responded with the late 3-pointer to give the Blue Devils more of a cushion. 
  • Kennard hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from about 30 feet away to finish the period with 20 points.
  • Freshmen Jack White and Javin DeLaurier got off the bench after not playing Tuesday against Michigan State. Duke used eight players in the first half after only using six all game against the Spartans. 
  • Duke introduced president-elect Vincent Price at Saturday's game at the under-16 timeout in the opening period. Price was at Saturday's game along with current President Richard Brodhead, who will retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.
  • Maine wore black and rainbow-colored shooting shirts before the game to protest North Carolina's House Bill 2. 

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