PORTLAND, Ore.—For the third straight game of the PK80 Invitational, the Blue Devils are trailing at halftime.
Florida took control of the game early—building a 15-point lead five minutes in after several missed Duke layups. But Duke went on a 20-4 run late in the half fueled by hot long-range shooting to take the lead before the Gators heated up again to take a 53-49 advantage.
Picking up where they left off in their thrilling double-overtime victory against Gonzaga Friday, the Gators have shot well from beyond the arc, going 7-for-13. But the Blue Devils were able to match Florida from 3-point territory, going 8-for-17 and snapping out of their poor shooting from deep.
Freshman guard Gary Trent Jr., in particular, went 3-for-5 from deep and was a major part of Duke's comeback midway through the half. Senior Grayson Allen also contributed 11 points, including the 3-pointer with 4:48 left that gave Duke its first lead.
The Blue Devils' eventually built up a seven-point advantage, but Florida regained the lead with a 16-5 run to finish the half, capped by a triple from Jalen Hudson in the final seconds.
As expected, Duke relied heavily on freshmen big man Marvin Bagley III, given his size advantage over the Gators' frontcourt. He shot 6-for-13 overall from the field for a team-high 18 points. Bagley also collected a team-high eight rebounds, on pace to beat his 34-point, 15-rebound performance against Texas.
The Blue Devils' other starting big man, Wendell Carter Jr., picked up three fouls. For the third straight game in this tournament, he has been limited in the first half and went scoreless.
Here are some observations from the first half:
- Head coach Mike Krzyzewski went to his bench earlier than usual, putting Alex O'Connell, Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier in the game with only five minutes off the clock.
- Bagley's free-throw percentage has improved these past two games. He was 83.3 percent from the charity stripe in the half, taking all six of Duke's free-throw attempts.
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