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Halftime: Wake Forest 42, Duke 32

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Duke came into Saturday's contest needing to reverse some alarming trends on the heels of three losses in four games, including a devastating home loss against N.C. State Monday.

Instead, the No. 17 Blue Devils are struggling in the same areas through 20 minutes against Wake Forest, trailing 42-32 after 20 minutes of play at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. For the most part, the Demon Deacons—not known for stellar defense—forced Duke into tougher shots than the Blue Devils could for Wake Forest. At the half, Duke is shooting 35.5 percent from the field, compared to a 50.0 percent clip for the Demon Deacons.

With Amile Jefferson scoring on Duke's first possession, it looked like the Blue Devils might take advantage of their strength inside. But after a decent start taking the ball to the hoop, Duke has too often resorted to long jumpers off little ball movement again on the road. Grayson Allen nailed three triples to keep his team within striking distance, but the Blue Devils missed their last six shots of the period. 

It did not help the road team that the referees were particularly diligent about foul calls early in the half. After 20 minutes of play, Duke has 13 personal fouls, with five players with two. Wake Forest also has 10 personal fouls.

As a result, the Blue Devils used Jack White off the bench for the first time since the Virginia Tech game Dec. 31. Even White could not help Duke get stops, as the Blue Devils let Wake Forest guards Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford collapse the Duke defense at will. The tandem combined for 22 points to keep Wake Forest's offense hot even with its team's best player, John Collins, also limited by foul trouble.

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Allen—who shot 1-for-9 Monday night from 3-point range in the loss against the Wolfpack—has been much more aggressive again looking for his outside shot, but is just 3-of-9 from the field. 
  • Freshman Frank Jackson gave Duke a nice lift off the bench with seven points, finally finding his shot on the road, but also had to battle foul trouble after picking up his second on a reach-in 70 feet away from the bucket. 
  • Giles is playing in his hometown and had a strong put-back on a rebound, finishing with a dunk and letting out a big scream early on. He has drawn considerable attention from the crowd in his first appearance back in Winston-Salem, but struggled again defensively. The 6-foot-10 forward has four points and four rebounds at the break. 
  • Turnovers have been another issue again for the Blue Devils, who have eight—twice as many as their opponent—at the break. 


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