NEW YORK—Although defense has been Duke's calling card for the final three weeks of the regular season, you wouldn't have known it by watching the first half of Thursday night's ACC quarterfinal matchup.
Still, thanks to one of the nation's top offenses, the Blue Devils are heading into the locker room on top.
With 17 points, Grayson Allen has carried No. 2 seed Duke to a 41-37 halftime advantage against 10th-seeded Notre Dame at the Barclays Center. The Blue Devils' lone captain drilled five triples in less than 10 minutes and has paced an offense that is shooting 44.1 percent from the field.
In the opening minutes, Marvin Bagley tallied the first four points of the night for Duke, his second coming on a lengthy alley-oop pass from Allen. Wendell Carter Jr. picked up his second foul of the night in less than four minutes, relegating him to the bench until the 7:57 mark.
But after a Fighting Irish spurt helped Mike Brey's squad close to within a pair at 16-14, the Allen show began as the senior took charge of the game. In less than a minute, the Jacksonville, Fla., native drilled back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, with his heat-check triple forcing Notre Dame to call timeout down 25-17—in less than eight minutes, the teams combined for 42 points on 17-of-30 shooting.
Even after a couple of quiet possessions, Allen continued the offensive onslaught, pushing his first-half ledger to a perfect 5-of-5 from downtown in the opening 10 minutes, though he did not score in the last nine minutes of the half.
Still, the Fighting Irish would not fade, closing to within four thanks to an 12-3 run before the under-eight media timeout. No player for Notre Dame carried a heavy burden of the offense, as the Fighting Irish were led by only 10 points from Bonzie Colson.
Here are a few other observations from the first half:
- Despite scoring no points, Trevon Duval has been a big part of the Blue Devils' offense thus far, racking up seven assists in 15 minutes of action. Conversely, the Fighting Irish have 15 assists as a team on 17 made field goals.
- For Notre Dame, big man Martinas Geben has been a major factor down low. Geben is 4-of-6 with eight points, and he has cleaned up on the glass with six boards.
- After a pair of quick whistles, Carter was called for a third foul with 5:31 to go in the half, sending him back to the bench for good.
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A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak."