Duval
Trevon Duval drilled his first three triples of Thursday's game.

HALFTIME: Duke 53, Iona 39



PITTSBURGH—Duke's Jekyll and Hyde offense has come out hot again to open play in the NCAA tournament.

The Blue Devils lead Iona 53-39 after an impressive half of offense at PPG Paints Arena, shooting 61.8 percent from the field. Marvin Bagley III has had his way against the undersized Gaels forwards with 14 points, and Iona has struggled to keep up when it can't push the pace for fast-break layups.

Duke made its first six shots, including 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions—two from freshman Trevon Duval and two from senior captain Grayson Allen—to open up a 17-8 lead, with the Gaels' zone slow to rotate to perimeter shooters or conceding the shots to Duval.

But Iona quickly responded, beating the Blue Devils down the floor in transition multiple times and moving the ball well to pick apart Duke's zone. An 11-2 run tied the score at 19, though the Blue Devils pulled back in front with another triple from Duval. The point guard drilled three of his four long-range attempts after entering the game shooting only 27.0 percent from beyond the arc and has 13 points.

The scoring became more one-sided after the midway point of the half, as the Blue Devils could set up their defense and forced the Gaels into longer possessions. Iona went scoreless for more than four minutes to help Duke open up a 12-point lead while going on a 17-3 run, and the Gaels have not come within nine points since.

Here are a few other observations from the first half:

  • After the Blue Devils' initial 3-point flurry, they began to exploit their extreme size advantage inside and finished the half with 24 points in the paint.
  • Duke played a clean half defensively, committing only four fouls spread out among four players.
  • The Blue Devils rode Allen, Duval and Bagley for the whole half, with only Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden coming off the bench so far.
  • Roland Griffin has come off the bench with a lot of success for Iona's offense, scoring 11 points thanks to several midrange jumpers in the middle of Duke's zone. He also helped slow Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr. early in the post, but eventually their size caught up with Griffin and the Gaels. 

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