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Five observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va.—With the Blue Devils opening conference play on the road, Duke finds itself in a tough battle against Virginia Tech, trailing 41-38 at halftime.

Cassius Stanley with a quiet return

After missing Tuesday's game against Michigan State, Stanley returned to action as a starter against the Hokies—although it wasn't necessarily a triumphant return. The freshman played the first four minutes of the game and then came back in before the final media timeout. Stanley recorded two rebounds and two assists but missed his only field-goal attempt, a 3-pointer on Duke's first possession of the game.

Interior defense still an issue

Virginia Tech came into the game ranked third in the country in 3-point shooting. However, that didn't stop the Hokies from attacking the basket with ease. By the first media timeout, the Blue Devils had allowed Virginia Tech to connect on seven of eight shots from inside the arc, including four straight possessions ending in layups. On the other end, Duke started just 3-for-9 from the field.

Hokies doubling Vernon Carey Jr.

Carey has recorded a double-double in seven consecutive games, though it seems like Virginia Tech is determined to put an end to that streak tonight. The freshman center has been double teamed every time he touches the ball in the post, and it's been effective. At the break, Carey has just five rebounds and 10 points on just 57.1-percent shooting. 

Blue Devils gain some momentum with the press

Things looked like they were going sour for the Blue Devils early with the Hokies holding a nine point lead midway through the half. Then head coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to ramp things up and put on Duke's full-court press. The Blue Devils immediately forced a turnover with Alex O'Connell and were able to bring the deficit to just three minutes later with a big run, highlighted by a huge dunk from Jack White in transition.

Player of the half: Jordan Goldwire

Duke had no trouble shooting from deep in the first half, with two of those 3-pointers coming from an unlikely source. Junior guard Jordan Goldwire scored six points in the half, keeping the defense honest and providing big on-ball pressure on the defensive end. Goldwire knocked down all of his field goal attempts and should see crucial minutes if Stanley isn't a full go in crunch time.


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