Five observations from Duke’s men’s basketball first half vs. Michigan State
GREENVILLE, SC—Duke finds itself in a close battle against Michigan State throughout the first 20 minutes. Throughout the half, the Blue Devils and Spartans traded buckets as the two legendary head coaches on either side began engaging in a game of chess that will likely go on until the last minute. Duke leads 39-35 at the break and here are five of our opening period observations.
After starting his first-round game hot from the field, it took the Blue Devils a while to get him going offensively as he started 1 for 4 from the floor. A few missed shots inside — modified largely by Michigan State and its length — lost the Blue Devils 7-2, 9-4 early. Michigan State went four blocks in the first half as Duke continued to kick the ball inside. Second-year center Mark Williams was the bright spot offensively, as his teammates looked to throw the ball low for the 7-footer to finish inside. Until 4:06 p.m., he was the only Duke player to score as AJ Griffin hit a three to show his presence on the perimeter.
Spartans Hot Shot
Head coach Tom Izzo had his Michigan State team running and shooting, not missing an opportunity to shoot open as the Spartans outshot Duke in shooting percentage, but it didn’t pose too much. problems at Duke thanks to his own ability. to reset the offense on second chances. For the Spartans, it was senior Joey Hauser who continued his hot shot from his 27-point first-round performance against Davidson on Friday, while Gabe Brown backed him up by firing the ball from the outside with his 14 points on 4 for 4 shooting from 3 land in point. Towards the end of the half, the Spartans scored six straight goals, five of them from deep, the last tying the game at 33 per play.
Pick up the pace
After Duke’s slow start, both teams looked to pick up the pace of goalscoring in a tournament in which many teams struggled to capitalize on the attack in the first half. But as Michigan State looked to push him, he only fell a hole as the Spartans suffered a roughly six-minute mid-half stretch without a score and an extended stretch where they went 1 for 14 from the field. In return, Duke pushed the ball downfield and scored 10 straight points to put him in front up to seven points.
K and Izzo part VI
Both have been almost a staple of the NCAA Tournament, and you know their respective teams are looking to fight. Every previous game had its stars and it took some time for the teams to settle in and find each of their leaders. Going into Sunday, Krzyzewski led the tournament series 3-2, but with another high-stakes affair on our hands, it so far looks like the two are desperate to move on to another Sweet Sixteen.
Half-time player: Paolo Banchero
After a slow start by Banchero standards, he got going in the closing minutes of half-time as he took his points tally to 10 at the break. It was Mark Williams who made the difference early on, hitting hard shots and finishing low dunks, also providing defensive length. But with less than five minutes left, the Seattle native hit three straight shots to answer Michigan State’s three. The teams traded baskets as halftime approached, but Duke wouldn’t be in the lead if Banchero hadn’t gotten hot at the right time.
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Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity sophomore and an associate Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 117th volume.