Wendell Carter Jr. went down early in Wednesday's game with an ankle injury, but returned a few minutes ...

HALFTIME: Duke 50, Pittsburgh 24

Entering Wednesday’s matchup in pursuit of their first conference road win following a loss on the road at N.C. State, the Blue Devils started the game on a 10-0 run and head into the locker room with a commanding 50-24 lead, the second-fewest first-half points they have allowed this season.

Duke bolted out of the gates, making four of its first five shots and forcing several early turnovers. Freshmen Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval knocked down the first two 3-point attempts for the Blue Devils, and back-to-back giveaways by the Panthers turned into easy buckets in transition. 

One of the main storylines for the Blue Devils in the first half was their depth. Despite playing without their first two big men off the bench in Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier who are nursing respective knee and hamstring injuries, Duke received solid contributions from its bench. Freshmen Jordan Goldwire and Alex O’Connell, sophomore Jack White and juniors Justin Robinson and Antonio Vrankovic saw extended minutes due to the injuries and combined for 11 points. 

Duke almost lost another player after Wendell Carter went down grabbing his ankle with a little less than 16 minutes left to play in the first half and retreated to the locker room. Carter returned later in the half and seemed to be moving without any pain.

The nation’s top recruit, Marvin Bagley III, has continued his dominance coming off a stellar 31-point, 10-rebound performance against N.C. State Saturday.  The freshman phenom led Duke with 13 first-half points, and is seemingly on his way to his 13th double-double of the season after grabbing eight boards.

Despite heading into the contest with a dismal 25.3 three-point percentage in conference play, the Blue Devils have been hot from the perimeter—knocking down 47.1 percent of their 17 first-half attempts, including a career-high three makes from Duval and two from Robinson. Grayson Allen, however, has continued his conference struggles. Entering the game shooting just 21.7 percent beyond the arc in conference play, Allen scored just seven points on 1-of-5 3-point shooting in the first half. 

In addition to converting from deep, the Blue Devils did a good job defending the perimeter in the first half. Duke came into the game allowing an average of 92.7 points per game in conference play, while allowing opponents to convert on 48.7 percent of their 3-point attempts in that span, but Pittsburgh once again was unable to find its shot, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field. The Panthers have scored more than 60 points just once through three conference games. 

Pittsburgh sports an extremely young team, starting five freshmen in Wednesday’s matchup. Its youth showed early, as it coughed up the ball 10 times in the first half, allowing Duke to outscore them 22-8 on points off turnovers.

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