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Five observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Georgia State

<p>Vernon Carey looks to be on his way to his second-straight double-double.</p>

Vernon Carey looks to be on his way to his second-straight double-double.

Duke played its second on-campus game of the 2K Empire Classic Friday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Georgia State. Led by Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr., the second-ranked Blue Devils head to the locker room up 36-34. Here are five observations from the first half of play.

Tre Jones rejoins the squad

After Duke sophomore guard Tre Jones had a head-to-head collision with a Central Arkansas player Tuesday, the Apple Valley, Minn., native spent a minute laid out on the court until he retreated into the locker room, never returning against the Bears. However, Jones came back and joined his teammates on the court Friday, not missing a beat. Jones put up eight points in the first six minutes, including two three-pointers.

First repeating starters of the season

Duke debuted its first repeating starting lineup of the season, with Jones, junior Alex O’Connell, and freshmen Vernon Carey Jr., Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt earning another start, the first coming against Colorado State. The five struggled early in the game and had a slow start. Five minutes into the half, Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski inserted Jack White, Wendell Moore, Jordan Goldwire and Javin DeLaurier, proving he would use a deep bench early. 

Duke struggles beyond the arc 

Duke's outside shooting curse seems to be continuing into this season, as the Blue Devils still haven’t figured out how to be effective from beyond the arc. In the first ten minutes of the half, Duke went 2-for-8 on 3-pointers. The only three treys in the period came from Jones, while all other Blue Devils could not get their outside strokes going, missing all nine 3-point attempts.

Upset alert?

After storming out to a 14-6 lead, Duke let the underdog Panthers creep back into the contest. A flurry of Georgia State 3-pointers and Blue Devil turnovers let Georgia State actually take the lead late in the half. If Duke does not get right, its sacred nonconference home winning streak will be in jeopardy.

Player of the half: Vernon Carey

Carey proved to be an effective big man in the first half, as the freshman made his mark with six rebounds within the first seven minutes of the game. Besides dominating on the glass, Carey also tallied 11 points and a steal. With many of his teammates struggling, Carey proved to be reliable in his 17 minutes of first half action.

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