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5 observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Oregon State at Phil Knight Legacy

Dariq Whitehead provided an early boost for Duke in Thursday's first half.
Dariq Whitehead provided an early boost for Duke in Thursday's first half.

It was a low-scoring affair to open up No. 8 Duke’s appearance in the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland, Ore. After one half at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Blue Devils lead the Beavers 29-27.

Early shooting from deep

Both teams were determined to find success from beyond the arc in the opening minutes; Duke logged four 3-point attempts in the first four minutes, while Oregon State had six. Senior forward Dzmitry Ryuny was the main weapon for the Beavers, earning six of their first nine points with two clean threes, while Tyrese Proctor was the only player to finish from far out for Duke leading up to the first media timeout. Duke’s Dariq Whitehead came off the bench to log two of Duke’s four total three-pointers in the half.

Offensive fouls from Oregon State

As the game sped up, Oregon State built up a fast-paced transition offense, but limited its own opportunities with some early offensive fouls. Chol Marial and Dexter Akanno, the latter of whom drove into a Duke defender for a charge early on, logged two quick fouls in the paint back-to-back. Rodrigue Andela found himself whistled moments later, leading to a three by Whitehead on the subsequent play. The one-on-one defensive matchups were clearly frustrating for the Beavers, culminating in Tyler Bilodeau committing an off-ball foul on Duke’s Kyle Filipowski with a hand in his face at the top of the key. Duke also, however, tallied sloppy fouls in pivotal moments, with Filipowski fouling Akanno on a successful three with less than a minute to go.

Low efficiency from inside for Duke

On top of a slow start from the three-point line—the Blue Devils shot 4-of-15—Duke was stopped near the basket, too, both by the Beavers, with early blocks from Marial and Andela, and in sloppy movements, with Filipowski being whistled for a travel down low. Duke also had its share of missed jumpers, while freshman guard Jordan Pope began to pick up momentum as the half closed and nailed two jumpers just moments apart. Duke had five missed layups in the half, including two open attempts from Roach after grabbing a loose ball and one by Filipowski.

Slam dunk

A 16-15 lead with about six minutes left was not ideal for Duke, but an alley-oop dunk by freshman center Dereck Lively II from junior captain Jeremy Roach seemed to put some pep in Duke’s step. The Blue Devils were visibly energized on the next defensive play, and some power from Proctor at the rim shortly after earned him a trip to the charity stripe to keep Duke in the lead. Roach also stepped up in the following minutes, fighting to grab a loose ball and finish for Duke—but the junior missed his first two layup attempts, ultimately adding to Duke’s unusually slow day from inside.

Player of the half: Dariq Whitehead

The freshman has not found himself in the starting five since returning from a preseason foot injury Friday against Delaware, but he came off the bench to collect two 3-pointers and two rebounds after only five minutes of play. Although he only ended the half with 13 minutes, his energy and eagerness to step up in multiple areas, from staying strong at the rim to finding opportunities for jumpers and the occasional three, should leave the Blue Devil faithful excited for him to assume a larger role on the team. 


Leah Boyd

Leah Boyd is a Pratt senior and a social chair of The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously editor-in-chief for Volume 117.

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