Duke came into the game versus the South Dakota Coyotes not playing particularly well but still well enough to win. Duke took down the Coyotes 96-80 but lost the second half points wise by 10. While the way Duke has won games of late has provided a good amount of drama for Duke fans to enjoy but it still has to be concerning. Playing Devils advocate one could say that they are winning playing subpar basketball for large stretches or the other side is that they are not progressing, perhaps they are simply overwhelming teams with talent and as the season goes on that will get exposed when the ACC grind begins. It remains to be seen but what is clear is that there is a quite a bit of fixing that needs to be done.
With Duke having a slew of home games and seemingly more rest and time for actual teaching and fixing I believe we should see some subtle improvement. The Coyotes did as good a job as any trying to take advantage of the Duke miscues. The first half Duke actually came out, played with energy and took it to the Coyotes, building a 56-30 lead. Duke had a 14-0 advantage on second chance points because they doubled up the Coyotes on the boards 26 to 13. Duke also shot the ball well going 5-10 from beyond the arc and 62% shooting overall from the field, most of that coming off of points in the paint where Duke had a 36-14 advantage.
The second half saw Duke tinker quite a bit with the lineups and the result was a much more choppy and disjointed effort on both ends of the floor. While Duke did still double up the Coyotes in rebounds just as they did in the first the second half points were dead even at 6 a piece. Fast break points were also dead even in the second half and South Dakota had an 8-4 advantage in points off of turnovers as the Devils committed 13 in the second half after only committing 5 in the first. The majority of the Duke turnovers were unforced and seemed to be caused by a lack of focus. South Dakota took full advantage and cut into the Duke lead time after time. Duke shooting cooled significantly in the second half as well as they shot 46% from the field and only 28.6% from beyond the arc. There is still plenty of stuff, especially on the defensive end for Duke to work on as they have not played a full 40 minutes of good defense in weeks.
Marvin Bagley continued to show why he is a consensus top 3 pick in the next NBA draft earning yet another double-double scoring 19 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, Bagley also had 2 assists and 3 blocked shots in the game. Grayson Allen had a monster first half scoring 19 of his game high 25 before the break. Allen used Cameron and the crowd to bust out of his recent shooting slump hitting on 5-6 from beyond the arc and 8 of 11 overall.
For Duke it was truly a tale of 2 halves, even with the rotating and changing of lineups South Dakota should not have scored 50 points against Duke in Cameron no matter who was on the floor. Duke did not defend the perimeter against the Coyotes allowing them to go 7-13 (in the second half). Duke also did not take care of the basketball committing 18 turnovers overall and 13 after the break.
Tuesday will be the next opportunity to see if the team is able to right some of the wrongs they’ve had as of late.