CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — If all’s well that ends well, Duke can rest assured that their fate hasn’t been sealed in the first half. After an up and down first few minutes, Duke managed to pull even on a last-second dunk by Mason Plumlee and went into the locker room tied at 27.
While audible yelling could not be heard on the walk from courtside to the media suite, I’m sure that everyone in that locker room got the message: this effort was unacceptable. Duke turned the ball over nine times in the first 20 minutes and only assisted on six of their 11 baskets. Those numbers have been Duke’s calling card of late so their absence in this first half was more than noticeable, it was glaring.
On the bright side, Seth Curry had himself a nice little half with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting and added a steal for good measure. Plumlee finished the half with seven points and five rebounds, but those numbers don’t show his inability to do his work down low against smaller players like Ryan Anderson and Eddie Odio.
Joe Rahon hurt them early, but Olivier Hanlan hurt them throughout. Hanlan entered the break with a game-high 10 points thanks in part to a 5-of-6 showing at the free throw line.
If Duke can take care of the ball and start knocking down three’s (1-for-7 in first), then the second half will play out much more like a Duke basketball game.