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Five observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Notre Dame

<p>Zion Williamson impressed in the first half Monday night.</p>

Zion Williamson impressed in the first half Monday night.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—In a Duke-dominated first half, the Blue Devils enter the locker room with an 46-28 lead. Notre Dame was unable to keep up with Duke, and finds itself in a major hole entering the second period.

Shots falling from deep for Duke

Despite the frigid weather outside of the arena, Duke was scorching hot from outside in the first half, making five of its nine 3-point attempts. Fresh off of a 9.5 percent performance  beyond the arc against Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils connected from deep on each of their first two possessions. After going a combined 1-for-10 against the Yellow Jackets, Tre Jones and Cam Reddish hit two of their four 3-pointers in the half. 

Hot start for the Blue Devils

After a sluggish first half showing on Saturday, Duke came out of the gates strong, advancing to a 17-2 advantage less than six minutes into the contest. The Blue Devils hit eight of their first 11 shot attempts, and finished the period with an efficient 58.1 field goal percentage. Notre Dame was able to recover with a 16-6 run of its own, despite an 1-for-8 effort from its leading scorer on the season John Mooney.

Tre Jones impresses

After a somewhat underwhelming six-point, four-assist performance in his first game back from a shoulder injury, Duke guard Tre Jones had a solid opening half for the Blue Devils, with five points, two assists, and no turnovers. Jones almost started a highlight reel play halfway into the period, but Zion Williamson was not able to finish off of a behind-the-back pass from Jones on the fast break. 

Weak showing from the bench

In terms of scoring output, Duke continues to be top heavy, as Blue Devil reserves hit just one field goal, and tallied just just three points. The freshman quartet of Jones, Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish accounted for the overwhelming majority of Duke’s first half scoring.

Player of the Half: Zion Williamson

As perhaps the most discussed college basketball of the decade, Williamson enters opposing arenas with gaudy expectations. Williamson lived up to the hype and then some tonight, putting up 17 points on a near-perfect 77.8 percent from the field. The Spartansburg, S.C., native dazzled from the outset, and had a spectacular left-handed lay-in off a spin move for his first points of the night.


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