5 observations from No. 14 Duke men's basketball's first half against Notre Dame

Jeremy Roach shifts the ball under pressure during Duke's win against Syracuse.
Jeremy Roach shifts the ball under pressure during Duke's win against Syracuse.

No. 14 Duke is looking to continue its winning streak Saturday evening at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., against Notre Dame. After 20 minutes, the Blue Devils have work to do in order to keep their triumphant run intact, narrowly leading the Fighting Irish 29-27:

Proctor still out of starting lineup

Although sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor played in Duke’s last two games, he came off the pine for the third-straight time this season Saturday evening. However, the lineup of Caleb Foster, Jared McCain, Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell and Kyle Filipowski is 5-0 so far and has done a great job on both ends of the floor. Proctor came off the bench but struggled to continue the momentum from his 14-point performance against Syracuse, failing to score. Foster has been serviceable if not unremarkable in his absence, knocking down a triple in the first half. 

Road struggles continue

Two of Duke’s three losses have come on the road, and the Blue Devils have not won a true road game this season. Duke fell in its first ACC contest to a lesser opponent in Georgia Tech, and against Notre Dame, the Blue Devils had a similarly slow start. Duke struggled from behind the arc, going 3-for-14 from deep, reminiscent of a cold shooting performance against the Yellow Jackets. Filipowski did not make a shot from the field and the team as a whole shot 31%. In addition, the Fighting Irish were able to take advantage in the paint, outscoring the Blue Devils 14-8 inside. 

Trouble with Burton

Markus Burton is having an incredible freshman campaign, and has been one of the few bright spots offensively for the Fighting Irish. He demonstrated his ability to score from all three levels against the Blue Devils, scoring nine points in the half. Burton is averaging 16.1 points per game on the season and made life difficult for Duke’s defense. He also demonstrated his passing ability with some nice finds inside to teammates. However, after scoring seven early points, the Blue Devils did a better job containing him in the latter part of the half.

Uncharacteristic sloppiness

Throughout the season, the Blue Devils have done a great job taking care of the ball, but in the early minutes against the Fighting Irish, Duke made some unforced errors. The team finished with nine turnovers in the half and gave Notre Dame increased confidence in its home area. Duke is only averaging 9.1 giveaways per game thus far, but Notre Dame is one of the better defenses in the league, and flexed its muscle in the half. However, the Blue Devils did well to minimize the damage, as the Fighting Irish only scored four points off turnovers.

Player of the half: Jeremy Roach

In a half that saw Duke struggle mightily from the field, Roach was a steady presence in the offense. He was 4-for-6 from the field with a triple as well. This does not include a 3-pointer that went in but was called off due to an offensive foul. The senior guard has been a reliable weapon all season, often making key shots when the team needs it most. If the Blue Devils hope to escape with a victory, the Leesburg, Va., native will certainly be a big part of it. 

Ranjan Jindal profile
Ranjan Jindal | Sports Editor

Ranjan Jindal is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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