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5 observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Miami

Kyle Filipowski during Duke's Jan. 21 win against Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Kyle Filipowski during Duke's Jan. 21 win against Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

CORAL GABLES, Fla.—Duke is on its first three-game win streak since December, but to win a fourth-straight contest, it has to go through Miami. The Blue Devils are down 40-26 at the Watsco Center, and we bring you our five takeaways from the opening 20 minutes.

Big game hangover

The question heading into the game was whether Duke could move on from its momentous victory against North Carolina two days ago. For the opening three minutes, the Blue Devils did not even record a field goal and allowed the Hurricanes to jump out to a 13-3 lead. The rest of the half was a similar story and consisted of tons of intensity from Miami on both ends of the floor to send the home team into the half with a comfortable lead. 

Wong, Part II

The Blue Devils were able to hold Miami leading scorer Isaiah Wong to just seven points during their last matchup, a 68-66 Duke win Jan. 21. But Wong wasted no time getting going in this one, stealing the ball on Duke’s second possession and finishing with a slam on the other end. Shortly after, Wong drilled a three to put the Hurricanes up 13-1, and he ended the half with nine points.

Playing physical on the inside

To no surprise, Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga came prepared with a game plan to prevent Duke freshman center Dereck Lively II from dominating like he did against North Carolina. Miami’s Norchad Omier, at 6-foot-7, battled the 7-foot-1 Lively for boards all half and despite the height difference, came away with 10 points and seven rebounds. Graduate center Ryan Young did not fare much better when he checked into the contest, and the play from the bigs is something the Blue Devils will need to straighten out at halftime if they are to keep their winning streak alive.

Ice cold in Sunshine State

The Blue Devils got off to a brutal start from the field, shooting 11-of-32 in the opening half and not hitting a 3-pointer until the 9:06 mark. The cold shooting hurt Duke even worse when it was coupled with 11 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. Despite the Blue Devils trying to knock the Hurricanes off track by switching to full-court press and a zone defense, Miami dominated the entire half, largely thanks to Jordan Miller’s 14 points on a 5-of-7 clip. 

Player of the half: Kyle Filipowski

There were not many positives for the Blue Devils during the first half, but 7-foot freshman Kyle Filipowski did just enough to keep Duke in the contest. Filipowski did not light up the stat sheet like he has before, but his nine points and nine rebounds have the Blue Devils looking at a much smaller deficit than their overall play could have merited.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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