It was all Duke in the opening stanza Wednesday night. Eastern Michigan got the opening bucket, but the top-ranked Blue Devils grabbed control with a 21-1 run and they haven't looked back, leading 48-13 at the break. Here are five observations from the first half:
Player of the half: Zion Williamson
This spot is probably going to become a broken record, especially if the star freshman keeps turning in games like Wednesday. Williamson made his first four field goals en route to 12 points before intermission. He also filled up the stat sheet with four rebounds, two assists and a block. Of course, the Spartanburg, S.C., native added a couple more high-flying jams to his highlight reel as well.
In the zone
After an ugly entry pass on the game's first possession, Duke seemed to have few problems with Eastern Michigan's 2-3 zone defense. Williamson jammed home a dunk to open the Blue Devils' ledger and the hosts had no problem getting going, as they grabbed an 10-3 advantage in the first four minutes. Duke utilized a number of guys at the free-throw line to penetrate the Eagle zone—Williamson started the night in that role, but Javin DeLaurier and Barrett also took time in that spot.
Speaking of defense...
The Blue Devils were cooking, both in their full-court press and half-court man-to-man. Duke forced 14 turnovers, which led to 21 points, often stopping Eastern Michigan's offense before it could even get started. But when the Eagles managed to get into their sets, they struggled to find the basket—Eastern Michigan shot 6-of-28 in the first 20 minutes and didn't get into double digits until after the three-minute mark.
Too many turnovers
For as much good as there was on the offensive end, the Blue Devils were a bit lackadaisical with the ball. After averaging just four per half through the first two games, Duke gave the ball away five times in the first 11 minutes and added nine more giveaways before the break.
Take 10 (plus one)
Coach K gave his starters a little more time to breathe with the Blue Devils in the driver's seat basically from the tip. 11 different Duke players saw time before half, with Marques Bolden—who logged two blocks and a steal to go with a couple of buckets—remaining in the starting lineup alongside the four freshmen.
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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."