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Five observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Boston College

<p>Zion Williamson was a force to be reckoned with on the glass in the first half.</p>

Zion Williamson was a force to be reckoned with on the glass in the first half.

Heading into the locker room, Duke is stuck in an offensive struggle as it looks to exact revenge on Boston College following a lost last year. The Blue Devils trail 30-28 shooting a dismal 31.6 percent from the field. 

Strong Defensive Play Early

In the first five minutes Tre Jones had two deflections while Zion Williamson and Marques Bolden each chipped in with a steal. Williamson’s steal on Ky Bowman at 15:26 mark led to a Jones layup to give Duke a 12-8 lead and capped an 8-0 run. Jones held Bowman, the ACC’s third-highest scorer, to seven points in the half.

Strong Defensive Play in the Paint

Jack White headlined Duke’s stiff paint defense in the first half. On two consecutive possessions, the captain rejected an Eagle shot at the rim. As Bowman tried to elevate for a poster-dunk for his first points of the game, White sent the ball back leading to a Williamson trip to the line. The nation’s leading shot-blocking team tallied three blocks in the half.

Offensive Struggles

Typically, the Blue Devils are able to overcome their struggles from downtown with consistent scoring around the rim. However, after a R.J. Barrett layup and Marques Bolden dunk to start the game, points in the paint were a struggle to come by. Duke made just seven shots in the paint leading to 14 points.

Foul Trouble for Barrett

Part of the futility on offense came from Barrett having to sit for about 10 minutes in the middle of the half. The freshman picked up his second foul with 12 minutes left in the half leading to a stint on the bench. However, two minutes after returning, he was called for his third on an offensive charge. 

Player of the Half: Zion Williamson 

In an offensive struggle for both sides, Williamson was the lone bright star for the Blue Devils. Although he did not have his most efficient performance shooting 4-for-7 en route to nine points, he pulled down 10 rebounds, just short of a double-double and chipped in two steals.

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