After a lackluster performance against Southern Friday, the Blue Devils needed to come out strong in Monday night’s contest against Furman.
And despite another sluggish start, they did just that, to the tune of a dominant 24-8 run.
Led by freshmen big men Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr.'s combined 21 points and nine rebounds, Duke leads the Paladins 49-31 through the opening 20 minutes of play. Despite a meager three-point showing from senior Grayson Allen in the first half, freshmen Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval held their own in the Blue Devils' backcourt with 17 points between the pair.
The first minutes of play were disjointed for both sides. A monster block from Carter just two minutes into the contest got a rise from the Cameron Crazies, but it was not enough to shake the Blue Devils from their early-game funk.
Duke's defense was virtually nonexistent through the first media timeout of the night, allowing Furman to take an 11-8 lead at the 16-minute mark. The Blue Devils returned to the floor and committed multiple turnovers before freshman sharpshooter Gary Trent Jr. sparked a turnaround for Duke.
The Columbus, Ohio, native connected on a jumper through traffic to bring the Blue Devils within three. Before the Paladins could even cross half court on the counter, sophomore Javin DeLaurier stripped the ball and took it down the lane for the slam.
Furman penetrated a bit deeper into Duke's defense on the next drive, but sophomore big man Marques Bolden swatted a layup away from the basket and and Trent drained a shot from beyond the arc to put the Blue Devils up 15-13 with 12:56 remaining in the first half.
Carter took over for Duke for the next few minutes of play. After getting fouled in the paint and knocking down both free throws, the Atlanta native tipped the ball in on a missed jumper from Bagley. Just 27 seconds later, Carter pivoted around the Paladin defense and slammed the ball home to increase the Blue Devil lead to five.
After the big man swapped out for DeLaurier, Bagley found his stride for Duke. He connected on a jumper at the 8:18 mark and got a layup to fall 30 seconds later for his first points of the contest. After the next media timeout, Bagley assisted on a Duval dunk and then found one of his own on the next trip down the floor, spinning to the basket and slamming it down with both hands. One jumper and 3-pointer later, Bagley had taken charge in scoring for the Blue Devils without having scored in the first 12 minutes of play.
Here are a few observations from the first half:
- Although the Blue Devils gave up multiple early-half turnovers, they managed to force seven turnovers from the Paladins in the opening 20 minutes.
- Duke continues to struggle from the foul line, shooting at a 66.7 percent clip thus far in the contest.
- The Blue Devils are shooting just 3-of-10 from beyond the arc despite a dominant 58.3 percent from the field.
- Allen finally found his first points of the game with five minutes to go in the first half on a deep three ball.
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