Duke Struggles Early but Pulls Away Late Against Portland State; 99-81

Brian HoraceGame Results, General InformationLeave a Comment

Duke came into the PK-80 seemingly ready to play but did they come to really compete? It’s hard to say. The first half by Duke but more so by the Portland State Vikings was not exactly what Coach Mike Krzyzewski had in mind. The Vikings put the Blue Devil athletes through their paces. First 5 minutes saw pretty much an evenly played game, Duke wasn’t hitting for the outside hence they could not really build a lead. Deontae North was on fire for the Vikings, coming out with a mission and hitting shots from everywhere on the court. Duke had no answer for North nor did they have an answer for the frenetic pace at which Portland State played. Duke players were visibly gasping for breath as they tried to run with the Vikes. Portland State ran body after body at Duke. Several stats told the story in the first half for both Duke and Portland State:

Portland State held a 5-1 turnover advantage over the Blue Devils in the first half, they turned that into a 4-0 advantage in points off of turnovers.

Despite being a bigger team Duke only held a rebounding advantage of 21-19, the Vikings turned their 6 offensive rebounds into 8 points, Duke only converted their 5 offensive rebounds into 2 points. The pace of the game as well as Duke’s lack of transition defense aided in a 12-6 advantage in fast break points for the Vikings.

In the second half Duke was able to counteract some of these advantages. As Duke abandoned the man-to-man defense that left them gassed and wasn’t particularly effective in the first half Duke was able to even out the turnover differential with both teams committing 6 in the second half. Duke was able to score a 7 to 1 advantage in points off of turnovers and a 4-2 edge in fast break points. Low numbers as the game primarily went from a quick paced back and forth to more of a half-court affair. Duke was able to utilize more of its size on the boards to a 28-18 advantage on the boards as well in the second half – giving Duke the impetus for an 18-7 advantage in second chance points.

As the game began to turn it was clear the Vikings began to lose their composure, with 3 technical fouls and a few that could have been called the older team seemed to come apart at the seams.

Portland State got 24 huge points from Deontae North, who owned the first half, dropping 20 and 3 assists on the Devils in the first period. The second half didn’t far as great for North who only managed 4 points and 1 assist. North also racked up 2 technicals before fouling out on a technical foul while sitting in front of the scorers table waiting to check in.

For the Devils Trevon Duval would pace them in scoring unfortunately for Duval he was responsible for 5 of Duke’s 11 turnovers and only dished 2 assists. Marvin Bailey and Wendell Carter both earned double-doubles in the game with Bagley going for 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Carter going for 16 points and 10 boards. Bailey and Carter had 2 blocks a piece on the defensive end while carter added 2 assists. Grayson Allen continued to struggle shooting the basketball going 2-7 and 1-6 from distance. Grayson did find other ways to affect the game adding 9 of Duke’s 19 assists and going 9-11 from the free throw line.

Huge for Duke in this game were the efforts off the bench. Most notably from Marques Bolden and Alex O’Connell who steadily has impressed, making the most of his time. Bolden was 4-7 from the floor for 8 points and added 10 huge rebounds for Duke in the game. Bolden also added 3 blocks in his 18 minutes of play. Alex O’Connell gave Duke a huge lift with his energy and effort as well – O’Connell went 4-6 from the floor for 9 points, also adding 2 assists and a blocked shot. O’Connell has yet to shy away from the big moment and has embodied the adage of being ready to go at a moments notice. This won’t be the last time Duke needs his energy.

Going forward its clear this team needs a defensive overhaul, too may open 3s were given up and too many offensive rebounds, primarily by Viking guards. Transition defense was also a killer in this game. The final numbers won’t tell much of the tale only because Duke reversed them decidedly in the second half.