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Five observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Syracuse

Freshman Jeremy Roach got off to a hot start from beyond the arc against Syracuse.
Freshman Jeremy Roach got off to a hot start from beyond the arc against Syracuse.

Looking to extend its winning streak to a season-best four games, Duke came out hot against Syracuse Monday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium, as the Blue Devils head to the locker room with a 52-34 lead. Here are five observations from the game’s first 20 minutes: 

Duke starts on fire

The Blue Devils have been playing their best basketball of the season recently, and the team stayed scalding in the opening minutes of Monday’s contest. Wendell Moore Jr., Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward all knocked down 3-pointers early, giving Duke an 11-4 lead just moments after tip-off. The hot start would continue throughout the half, as the Blue Devils finished 62.5% from the field and 55.6% from beyond the arc.

No, Buddy

Fresh off of a career-high 29 points against Notre Dame Saturday, Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim was quiet in the first half, not scoring for the first 15 minutes of the game. Boeheim’s father, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, made headlines recently when he said that Duke is “better off” without freshman forward Jalen Johnson, who opted out of the season last week.

Freshman frenzy

Much has been made about Duke losing Johnson, but the Blue Devils’ other freshmen have picked up the slack in a big way. Roach and Steward dominated on the perimeter, combining for 27 points on an impressive 7-for-10 on 3-pointers, while Mark Williams ran the floor effectively, racking up eight points. Even Henry Coleman III got in on the fun, scoring two points and pulling in two rebounds off the bench.

Blue Devils share the rock

Duke’s offense was poetry in motion Monday—it seemed like every possession, the Blue Devils found the open man, who knocked down the shot with ease. Duke had an absurd 16 assists on 20 field goals, while Syracuse had three assists on 14 field goals. 

Player of the half: Jeremy Roach

Roach’s campaign has been tumultuous, but the freshman point guard has been coming into his own of late. The Virginia native tallied 14 points and three assists, being the engine behind the Blue Devils’ high-powered offense against the Orange. Meanwhile, Duke’s other point guard, senior Jordan Goldwire, only played 13 minutes, perhaps signifying the passing of the torch to the young Roach. 

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