HALFTIME: Duke 56, South Dakota 30

After traveling nearly 8,500 round-trip miles in November, the Blue Devils started December off right back at Cameron Indoor Stadium and lead 56-30 at the half against South Dakota. 

Grayson Allen led Duke with 19 points and drained 3-of-4 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes, as the Blue Devils shot 62.2 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from deep in an offensive explosion in their first-ever meeting against a current Summit League member. 

After the Coyotes drained a 3-pointer to take a brief lead, Allen answered with a triple of his own to give Duke a lead it did not relinquish for the remainder of the half. The Blue Devils scored on their first three possessions and opened up an early 14-6 lead barely four minutes into the game.

Duke took advantage of double-teams against Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. early to find open looks on the wings, knocking down a pair of wide open 3-pointers early to build its lead. The Blue Devils made just three of 17 3-point attempts in their last game, a win on the road against Indiana, but appeared to turn the page against South Dakota in the first half, making 5-of-10 shots from beyond the arc.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski went to his bench early in the half, sitting all of his freshman starters less than eight minutes into the half. But Allen and four members of the second unit picked up right where the starters left off, going on a quick 10-2 run to stretch the Blue Devils’ lead to 15 before being subbed back out. 

In what has already been a resurgent season for Duke’s lone captain, Allen had one of his best starts to a game of the year, making seven of his first nine shots from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. The senior guard outscored the Coyotes by himself for the first 10 minutes of the game. 

Nowhere was the difference between the two teams clearer than under the basket. The relatively undersized South Dakota frontcourt could do little to slow down the Blue Devils in the post, giving up 36 points in the paint despite Carter Jr. going scoreless until the final minute of the half. On the other end of the floor, Duke was equally dominant, allowing just 14 points in the paint to the Coyotes, who start just one player taller than 6-foot-6.

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