The Blue Devils could not buy a shot in the opening minutes, but strong defense allowed Duke to get out to an early double-digit lead and the Blue Devils carried a 33-24 advantage into the locker room. Here are five observations from the first half:

Duke Starts out Slowly Again

After a quick Marques Bolden dunk and block on the other end, the Blue Devils looked to be off to a strong start. However, two straight possessions that saw Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett lose the ball in a congested paint and missed threes from Reddish, Jack White and Tre Jones from the left side left Duke with just six points after just under six minutes. 

Poor 3 Point Shooting:

The Blue Devils started 0-for-10 from deep, unable to connect on some wide-open looks. White continued to struggle from deep after shooting 0-for-4 against Stetson Saturday night. The normally reliable junior missed his first two open corner attempts, where he thrives when help defenders shy off of him to help in the paint. Barrett broke the futility with a three from the left corner with 8:03 left in the half.

Limited Free Throw Opportunities

With Duke’s attack mentality on offense, it is able to force its opponents into committing fouls and often finds itself in the bonus. However, the Blue Devils did not receive their first free throw until 3:18 left in the half—taking only two free throws through the first 20 minutes. Duke would convert on both of those opportunities, despite struggling over the last week.

Lowest Scoring Half

Duke’s previous lowest scoring first half was 39 points in its loss to Gonzaga. The Blue Devils managed to only put up 33 points entering the break, on 40.0 percent shooting from the field and 18.8 percent from deep. However, Duke responded with strong defense to hold Hartford to just 24 in the half.

Player of the half: R.J. Barrett

With the Blue Devils struggling to buy a shot from the perimeter, R.J. Barrett continued to lead Duke's attack on the interior. Using his ability to get to the rim, Barrett led the Blue Devils with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the first half. The freshman also dominated on the glass, using his wingspan to pull down 8 boards in the opening 20 minutes.