There was no bones about it, the Duke Blue Devils were in need of a victory - especially a road victory. It didn't matter who it was against but it was necessary. With 2 of their key reserves sidelined due to injury Duke could not afford a slow start against the Pitt Panthers and they did not disappoint. Duke began the game on a 10 - 0 run and kept the foot on the gas for the entirety of the first half. Duke stepped up their defensive pressure against the Panthers and seemed to treat this game as a must win. Duke was much crisper on offense, even with Coach K having to use multiple shifting lineups Duke stilled seemed to click. The first half saw the Devils play 10 players. 11 of Duke's 50 points were bench points with Justin Robinson and Alex O'Connell adding 6 and 5 points respectively while going 4-4 combined. Marvin Bagley III scored a team high 13 in the first half on his way to 16 for the game (if not for missed free throws Bagley would have eclipsed the 20 point mark again in scoring, going 2-8). Guard Trevon Duval scored 12 of his 14 in the first half and in a surprise state the freshmen who has been a liability from the outside made 3 of his 5 three-point attempts. Duval also added 3 assists to only 1 turnover and 3 steals. Gary Trent went 6-10 from the floor on his way to 14 points, Trent also was the high assist man with 5. While Grayson Allen, in this game, did not shoot a very high percentage (only going 4-12 and 2-9 from 3) he was much more engaged and played with energy. Allen was much more involved in the flow of the offense, even hunting his shot at times. Allen scored 11 points but also added 4 assists. The half ended with Duke up 50 to 24.
The second half saw Duke's shooting cool some, going from 47% from beyond the arc to 33%. The Panthers made a run in the second half trimming the Duke lead to 17 on a 3 pointer from Parker Stewart but Duke would withstand the run and push the lead back to 25 before taking the game to the final margin 87 - 52.
Once again, in the second half, the bench scoring for Duke was a huge factor, with the bench scoring 11 of Dukes 37 points. No player aside from Gary Trent Jr. played 30 minutes or more in the game and the bench accounted for 70 of Dukes 200 minutes in this game. It will be interesting to see if this is an anomaly due to key injuries or if Coach K will continue to utilize the bench.
Defensively Duke held the Panthers to 18.2% shooting from beyond the arc and 33.3% shooting for the game. While Duke shot 41% from 3 point range and 53.1 percent overall which is around their average. Duke did struggle from the free throw line only going 7 - 18.