HALFTIME: Duke 34, Syracuse 27 OMAHA, Neb.—Vegas might have had the Orange as heavy underdogs entering Friday's regional semifinal matchup, but don't tell that to Jim Boeheim's squad. With 20 minutes in the books at the CenturyLink Center, Duke holds and advantage on conference foe Syracuse, leading 34-27 in a Sweet 16 battle. The Midwest region's second seed has struggled to contain the Orange, surrendering three triples after Syracuse managed just 16 first-half points in the season's first contest at Cameron Indoor last month. If there was any question whether this all-ACC rematch was going to be yet another defensive slugfest, the first few minutes suggested otherwise—the Blue Devils and Orange scored a combined 20 points in the first five minutes, hitting eight of their 14 field goal attempts. But with two of the four best defensive teams left in the NCAA tournament on the floor, the offensive pace slowed as the Duke and Syracuse zones tightened up. The Blue Devils forced 12 turnovers in the half despite allowing the Orange to shoot better than 42 percent from the field. After falling behind 17-14, however, Duke picked up the offensive pace thanks to Bagley. The star freshman logged five points in less than three minutes as the Blue Devils snagged their first lead since the game's opening minute. Bagley combined with classmate Wendell Carter Jr. to score 17 of Duke's points before intermission. Out of the under-four media timeout, Grayson Allen canned a pair of free throws to ignite the Blue Devil offense in the final few minutes of the opening stanza. With a 10-0 run in the last 5:20, Duke seized control of the lead as it headed to the locker room. Here are some other observations from the first half: Syracuse's Marek Dolezaj picked up a third foul at the 7:57 mark, sending him to the bench for the rest of the half. The Orange typically use just seven rotation players. Trevon Duval once again led the charge for the Duke offense, sparking the Blue Devils with three first-half assists. Duke struggled to control the glass against a long and tall Syracuse side, with the Orange leading the rebound battle 19-12. The Blue Devils are taking advantage of a big disparity at the charity stripe: Duke is shooting 11-of-16 at the line, while Syracuse has taken just two free throws.