The Blue Devils for the first 13 minutes of their first NCAA Tournament game looked impressive on offense and pedestrian at best on defense. The Iona Gaels came out firing against the Duke zone and were step by step with the 2 seeded Blue Devils at 19 a piece. Duke, however, had an extra gear that sent them a 34-20 run to end the half and despite shooting 55% from the field and 44% from 3 point range the Gaels of Iona saw themselves down 53-39 at the half. Duke just shot better- going for 61% overall and 56% from beyond the arc.
Duke could have very easily found themselves behind in the early moments of this game but a hot shooting start from an unlikely source, freshman Trevon Duval, helped Duke stem the tide of the Gaels offensive display. Duval, in the first half, scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting and 3-4 from beyond the arc, something wholly unexpected by anyone who has followed the Blue Devils this year. Duval took advantage of the Iona defense, who rightly so read and studied the scouting report and knew that Duval was at best a 27% threat to make a shot from 3. Duval was undeterred and the freshman also added y assists to only one turnover in the first half. Duke as a whole hit 9 three pointers in the first half.
With the start of the second half Duke had clearly made adjustments in the zone to account for the Gaels hot shooting. Duke quickly went on a 17-6 run in the first 7 minutes of the second half to push the lead to 70-45 and never looked back. Marvin Bagley III led the Devils with 22 points on 10-14 shooting and pulled down 7 rebounds. Grayson Allen was efficient shooting 6-14, hitting 4 triples and scoring 16 points and dishing out 9 assists. Gary Trent Jr. continued his outstanding shooting displays going 4-9 from 3 point range and scoring 16 points. Duval, the first half hero, ended the game with 19 total points and 8 assists. Wendell Carter Jr. played only 24 minutes for Duke as he is nursing what Duke is calling a sore achilles so it was beneficial for Duke to be able to get the freshmen some much needed time on the bench.