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Grayson Allen did well to create off the dribble Wednesday, finishing with 21 points.

Beyond the arc: Three takeaways from another close Duke win at Indiana

In a contest with 16 lead changes, Duke found a way to win its first true road game 91-81. Marvin Bagley III and Grayson Allen combined for 44 points as the Blue Devils used an 8-0 run in the closing minutes to pick up their ninth win of the season. The Blue Zone gives three key takeaways, stats and plays, and looks forward: 

Three key takeaways

Grayson is Back

After struggling in the four games following Duke’s victory over Michigan State, it seems as though Allen has finally returned to his preseason-All American self. Following a 14-point performance including knocking down 4-of-8 shots from downtown Sunday against Florida, Allen took control in hostile Assembly Hall, scoring 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.

Perhaps the most encouraging note for Blue Devil fans is the fact that Allen really looked to create against Indiana—using ball fakes and step-backs to create open looks—after seeming quiet offensively in the prior weeks for Duke. 

Ball control is key

The Blue Devils did an outstanding job of remaining calm in the young team’s first true road game and made the most of their possessions offensively. Despite getting into foul trouble—Duke had five players with at least three fouls—the Blue Devils kept their composure, turning the ball over a mere eight times in the contest. 

Freshman guard Trevon Duval especially looked much more in control Wednesday, not turning the ball over following his 13 turnovers in three games in Portland, Ore., last weekend. 

Balance offensively

Duke moved the ball successfully Wednesday and used its balance and depth in order to stretch the defenders. Of the five Blue Devil starters against Indiana, four of them finished the game with more than 15 points. 

Freshmen Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III each racked up another double-double— combining for 41 points and 22 rebounds in the contest—while guards Allen and Duval continued to dish and attack off the dribble—combining for 36 points and 10 assists.

Three key stats

55.0 field goal percentage

The Blue Devils were able to pour in 91 points Wednesday largely due to smart, selective shot taking. Duke finished the game with a field goal percentage of 55 percent, thanks to crisp, decisive passing and feeding the ball to Bagley and Carter on the interior. The freshmen had their way against Indiana in the post, converting on 17 of their combined 26 attempts on the evening.

17.6 3-point percentage

While Duke was able to dominate down low, the Blue Devils could not buy a shot from the perimeter. After a what appeared to be a breakout 10-of-23 performance from beyond the arc against Florida, Duke’s three-point shooting woes continued. The Blue Devils converted on just three of their 17 attempts from downtown in the contest as freshman Gary Trent’s struggles continued, failing to drain any of his six shots from the perimeter.

22 team fouls

Despite the victory, the Blue Devils' youth is still evident. This is especially visible in the team’s foul trouble from Wednesday, as five Duke players had at least three fouls, with Carter fouling out, to boot. While the Blue Devils are playing hard defensively, they need to avoid reach-in’s late on the shot clock and moving screens offensively. Although Indiana failed to capitalize, shooting 16-of-26 from the line, foul trouble in the future could cause a problem for this Blue Devils team.

Three key plays

Bagley dunk, 7:25 remaining in the first half

With the game tied at 28-28 with a little over seven minutes left in the half, Allen stormed down the court and tossed the ball to Bagley, who threw down the slam. The dunk put the Blue Devils up by two and was the second of four consecutive makes for Duke.

Allen 3-pointer, 4:00 remaining in the second half

After De’Ron Davis cut the Duke lead to one at 78-77, Allen stepped back behind the three-point line and drained the shot to extend the lead to four. This sparked an 8-0 run for Duke, which ended up being the difference in the game.

Trent layup, 2:24 remaining in the second half

With the Blue Devils up six with less than three minutes left in the game, Bagley found a wide open Trent at the free throw line. Trent took a step, got fouled, and drained the floater and the free throw to put Duke up by nine, icing the game.

Looking forward

After a tough stretch of three-consecutive matchups against Power Five opponents, the Blue Devils receive a little bit of a break prior to the start of conference play next weekend against Boston College. Before then, however, Duke needs to get Trent and Allen back to their best from the perimeter, as the Blue Devils heavy reliance on interior dominance will likely not be as sustainable against some its larger conference foes.

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