Halftime: Miami 22, Duke 21

CORAL GABLES, Fla.— With Grayson Allen on the sidelines in street clothes due to an ankle injury, Duke has been inconsistent on offense and finds itself trailing in a defensive struggle after 20 minutes of play. 

The Hurricanes lead the Blue Devils 22-21 at the Watsco Center thanks to 13 points from freshman guard Bruce Brown and a buzzer-beating layup from Ja'Quan Newton. Although Duke sophomore Luke Kennard has eight points, he is just 4-of-11 from the field as the Blue Devils matched a season-low in first-half points by shooting 34.5 percent and committing seven turnovers. 

Freshman Frank Jackson was Duke's main spark in the opening 20 minutes with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting. 

The Hurricanes jumped out to a quick start as Brown registered scoop layups on Miami's first two possessions. He then added a top-of-the key 3-pointer to stake the Hurricanes to a 7-2 lead. Although the Blue Devils responded to cut the lead to one, Duke's offense started out 2-of-7 and looked a bit out of rhythm with Kennard forcing up shots early while in the lane. 

But the Blue Devils settled in as its defense—which created five first-half Miami turnovers—disrupted the Hurricanes' offensive flow. Jackson entered with less than 15 minutes left and recorded the Blue Devils' first and only 3-pointer so far before Kennard knocked in a floater to cut the deficit to 12-11. 

A Jackson floater then gave Duke its first lead of the game with just above 10 minutes to play, and the Alpine, Utah, native continued to attack with another lay-in to give the Blue Devils a 17-14 lead 12 minutes in. 

As Duke's offense began to find more flow, Miami went on a 3:39 scoring drought which ended with Brown getting an easy lay-up off an offensive rebound. But Duke then began to go cold itself, not scoring for more than three minutes.

The Blue Devils led by one late in the period before another sloppy turnover led to Newton's run-out layup to end the half—Miami leads despite players other than Brown shooting 4-of-21 from the field.

Here are some observations from the first half: 

  • The Blue Devil coaching staff elected to start freshman Harry Giles in place of the injured Allen. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native has two points on 1-of-4 shooting and six rebounds in nine minutes. 
  • After not receiving playing time against Syracuse Wednesday, freshman center Marques Bolden entered with 15:50 to play and has logged six minutes. He is scoreless and has just one rebound.
  • Miami came out playing zone, but eventually transitioned to a man-to-man defense. 
  • After finding themselves in foul trouble in recent games, the Blue Devils have committed just two fouls—one positive in an otherwise sloppy performance.
  • Rookie swingman Jayson Tatum was held scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting, bricking all three of his 3-pointers. Duke likely will need him to get going to get back in the win column.  

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.