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Five observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Wake Forest

<p>The Blue Devils stifled the Demon Deacons in Duke's blowout win Saturday night.</p>

The Blue Devils stifled the Demon Deacons in Duke's blowout win Saturday night.

In the Blue Devils' first home contest of the new year, they jumped out to an early 22-9 lead and didn’t look back. By making 62.5 percent of its first-half baskets, Duke holds a 49-23 lead against Wake Forest. Here are five observations from the opening half.

Player of the half: Tre Jones

Fresh off of a 16-point showing against Georgia Tech, the Apple Valley, Minn., native drained a corner 3-pointer to kick off the night’s scoring. He followed it up with a midrange jumper off the dribble and an assist soon after. His defense also forced the Demon Deacons into a shot clock violation with 11 minutes remaining in the half. Jones finished the first half with 11 points and four assists.

Matthew Hurt continues excellent play

After Hurt nailed three triples last time out, the Minnesota native converted his first attempt of the evening. Later on in the half, Hurt missed a corner three but stayed in the play and rebounded a miss from Vernon Carey, Jr., to put the Blue Devils ahead 12-5. The freshman forward recorded five points and two rebounds. 

Strong start from long range

Beginning with Jones’ opening possession triple, the Blue Devils opened the game shooting 4-for-6 from deep in the first nine minutes, with Hurt, Joey Baker and Cassius Stanley each sitting with one apiece. Baker then knocked in his next attempt to put the Blue Devils up 27-13. Duke finished the half shooting six-for-10 from behind the arc. Baker finished with eight points on two made 3-pointers.

Duke dominates the paint

The Blue Devils continued to get the ball inside and surged out a large advantage in terms of points in the paint. With just under nine minutes to play in the first half, Jordan Goldwire tossed an alley-oop to Carey, Jr., who dropped in the easy layup. On the next possession, Duke went back to its center, as White dumped the ball into Carey iin the low-post for his second straight basket. Along with six offensive rebounds, Duke holds a 22-6 lead in paint points.

Defense leads the way

Duke came out in a man-to-man defense and shut down the Wake Forest offense. Nearly 15 minutes into the half, the Demon Deacons only scored 18 points on 7-for-17 from the field. Blocks from Carey,, Jones and DeLaurier led the way to accompany six steals in the first 20 minutes.

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