After the Blue Devils were just one point shy of breaking the school record for most points in a half, it seems fitting that at least one program record fell in a 124-point performance. 

Spearheaded by freshman point guard Trevon Duval, Duke registered 34 assists to narrowly top the previous record of 33 set against Miami in 1986. Duval finished the game with 11 assists, including nine in the first half, when the team played arguably its best 20 minutes of the season. 

Senior Grayson Allen combined with Duval for 13 assists in the first half to give the Blue Devils 17 assists with just one turnover at the break. An assist-to-turnover ratio that high is almost unheard of and came as a breath of fresh air for those critical of Saturday’s performance against South Dakota. Despite putting up 96 points last weekend, the Blue Devils struggled in the second half and finished with a ratio less than one—19 turnovers and 17 assists. 

“We can really take care of the ball, and it really makes it extremely easy on the guards when we don’t have to make precise passes to these big guys,” Allen said. “Half the time, I’m just like, ‘Oh, there’s Marvin, I’m going to throw it up and let him go make a play and make me look good.’ It’s really easy with our team, but that’s how we should play. Tre can handle the ball. No one’s going to take it from him, so we really shouldn’t have that many turnovers."

It has been no secret throughout the season that Duke possesses a host of weapons around Allen and freshman Marvin Bagley III. The team’s efficiency and balance translated into 60.0 percent shooting and five players with at least 14 points, including sophomore big man Marques Bolden, who logged the first double-double of his career. Thirteen different Blue Devil players scored during the team’s first triple-digit outing of the season, a testament to its ability to knock down shots from inside or beyond the arc. 

As conference play begins—Duke heads to Massachusetts this weekend to take on Boston College for its ACC opener—it will be vital to the team’s success that it replicates the same efficiency and engages both its guards and forwards to expose opposing defenses.

Having so many players locked in against an overmatched St. Francis team likely galvanized the Blue Devils' shooting from beyond the arc. Duke finished the game 15-of-26 from the 3-point line, led Gary Trent Jr.’s 4-for-6 effort, his best of the season. 

“Simply just being shot-ready,” Trent Jr. said on what he is doing differently compared with recent games. “I was saying after the last couple of games that I wasn’t shot-ready. I was standing around a lot and I was waiting a lot. Really just being locked in and ready to go and ready to shoot—it helped a lot.”

After starting the season hot from the 3-point line, the Blue Devils cooled off dramatically. A stretch of the season saw them shoot worse than 30 percent from beyond the arc for four consecutive games, capped off by a miserable 4-of-23 outing against Texas in the PK80 Invitational. 

Although Duke has traditional 3-point specialists in Allen and freshman reserve Alex O’Connell, who went 3-of-5 from deep Tuesday, most of their teammates are also getting in on the action. Both Bagley and fellow big man Wendell Carter Jr. connected from long range, adding to the versatility of their games. 

When the Blue Devils sustain this level of efficiency from all over the court, they will be difficult to stop no matter who is on the other bench. Against more stout opponents, Duke will likely continue looking inside initially, but its big men have proven they can find perimeter shooters for clean looks, making the Blue Devils very tough to beat. 

"Except for a couple of games, we average usually over 20 assists a game and we have shared the ball well," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They look for one another, so that’s good. No one got into their own game—they were into our game."