Halftime: Miami 36, Duke 25



Despite returning to the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium following back-to-back road losses last week, No. 18 Duke’s struggles have persisted early on against Miami. After 20 minutes of action, the Hurricanes are ahead of the Blue Devils 36-25 led by Davon Reed's 12 points on four made triples.

Duke was in disarray everywhere offensively against a Hurricane team that allows just 61.5 points per game. The team has averaged 36.7 percent from beyond the arc entering Saturday’s game, but was ice cold from three through 20 minutes, shooting 0-of-8 as Miami drained 5-of-9 treys on the other end of the floor. The Blue Devils' 25 points were their lowest first-half total this year.

When the team was able to work the ball inside to graduate student Amile Jefferson—back in the lineup after missing two games with a right-foot bone bruise—Miami shifted well and gave the forward plenty of defensive pressure, forcing Jefferson to 0-for-3 shooting from the floor.

The Hurricanes made their gameplan clear early on to attack the rim and challenge Duke’s forwards defensively, using high ball screens to give guards Reed and Ja’Quan Newton chances to finish in the paint. But it was eventually back-to-back three pointers by Reed and Bruce Brown that gave Miami a 18-11 lead midway through the half.

Sophomore Luke Kennard—who is coming off of a 17-point performance against Louisville—did not take his first shot of the game until the 15:30 mark, but leads his team halfway through the game with six points on 1-of-4 shooting thanks to four free throws. 

The Blue Devils shot just 28.6 percent and had one assist, but went 9-of-12 from the free throw line to stay somewhat close as Miami used a 9-0 run after Duke made it 18-17 to establish control late in the half. 

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Jefferson looked rusty in his first game back since suffering the right-foot bone bruise Jan. 7 against Boston College. He finished with two points and five rebounds in 17 minutes
  • With the return of Jefferson and no other players missing due to injury, interim head coach Jeff Capel used an eight-man rotation through 20 minutes.
  • The Hurricanes could be up by even more. They are just 2-of-8 from the free throw line, squandering several early opportunities as they go for their third straight win against Duke. 

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