Facing the Yellow Jackets, another bubble team, Duke leads Georgia Tech 34-31 at the break. Here are five observations from the game’s first 20 minutes:
Senior Moses Wright picked right up where he left off after a 31-point outing against Syracuse, and the Georgia Tech big man’s agility is proving tough for Mark Williams to handle. In addition to running some offense at the top of the key, Wright has gotten his money’s worth in the paint, pacing the Yellow Jackets with 11 points and six rebounds thus far.
Emotions running high
The Yellow Jackets kicked things off by honoring a group of important seniors playing their last game in McCamish Pavilion. The limited capacity crowd understood the importance of this late-season conference matchup and spent much of the first-half making noise with the open seats around them. The added noise helped Georgia Tech open the game up with some momentum in a crucial battle for each team’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Making his Mark
In the first matchup between these two ACC foes, former Blue Devil Jalen Johnson played a big offensive role in the paint. It looks like Duke will try to replace that production early with Williams working in the post. Whether it was on lobs to the basket, post up plays or offensive rebounds, Williams is certainly turning into a threat to score for the Blue Devils with six first half points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field at the break.
Sharing is caring
Duke’s ball movement has been key in the team’s recent turnaround, and it’s more of the same Tuesday night in Atlanta. Out of the Blue Devils’ 15 made baskets, 11 of them have come off assists. Senior Jordan Goldwire, returning to his home state of Georgia, leads the visitors so far with five assists.
Player of the half: Wendell Moore Jr.
For the second straight game, Duke’s freshman guards have not come ready to face the fierce competition. Luckily for the Blue Devils, their returning talent stepped up. Moore opened his night early by knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing, but really helped to set the pace of play with his defensive pressure and controlled attacks toward the basket. The sophomore finished the half with 16 points on 7-of-9 from the field, as well as adding multiple defensive deflections.
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