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

<p>Jordan Goldwire returns as a veteran leader in 2020.</p>

Jordan Goldwire returns as a veteran leader in 2020.

Notre Dame can't boast the same kind of household recognition as Duke's previous two opponents, but so far, the Fighting Irish have lived up to their name. No. 7 Duke found itself without a high-flying freshman but pulled away late in the period Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils ended the half with a 42-32 lead in Cameron Indoor Stadium: 

Cassius Stanley sits out with mysterious eye injury

The freshman guard did not complete Duke's full pregame warmups. He came out for early warmups but exited for the final layup lines. Soon after warmups, the team confirmed on Twitter that the Los Angeles native was doubtful for the game due to an eye injury. He did not sit on Duke's bench when the game started and has not played so far. Fellow freshman forward Matthew Hurt replaced Stanley in the starting lineup. 

Stanley did walk to the bench with about six minutes left in the half. Stay tuned in to The Chronicle's website and social media for up-to-the-minute coverage.

Buckets of paint

Both Duke and Notre Dame boast a center up for national player of the year honors. Notre Dame center John Mooney and Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. are both finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award. To nobody's surprise, the Blue Devils and the Fighting Irish pounded the ball inside early and often Saturday afternoon. 

Duke scored 26 points in the paint in the first half, while Notre Dame scored 24 of its 32 first-half points in the lane. Matthew Hurt and Vernon Carey Jr. led the charge in the interior, scoring six and 16 points, respectively.

Pacific Rim

As in, the rim seemed as wide as the Pacific. The Blue Devils converted on five of their first eight field goal attempts, jumping out to a 12-6 lead. All in all, Duke shot 54.5 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line in the first half. 

What's in a name?

More than nothing, apparently. Notre Dame forward Juwan Durham had his way in Durham in the first half. The aptly-named big man scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting and snatched two rebounds in the first half.

Durham is third in the ACC in blocks per game at 2.2 but has yet to record a block against Duke.

Player of the half: Jordan Goldwire

Oddly enough, the junior guard has evolved into Duke's most potent spark plug. Goldwire shot 3-for-3 from the field in the first half, scoring seven points. Known for his defense, Goldwire even buried a 3-pointer from the wing. It was Duke's first trey of the half, and one of only three 3-point makes. 

Goldwire didn't let up his infamous defensive pestering, either. The guard riled up the Cameron Crazies with a steal, converting on the other end with a double-clutch layup. Goldwire finished with two steals in the period.


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