Duke was without Tre Jones for the second straight game, but that did not matter. The Blue Devils were able to knock off the Brown Bears after an early scare 75-50. Vernon Carey Jr. led the Blue Devils with nineteen points and seven rebounds. Brandon Anderson led Brown with sixteen points and three assists. So what was the key to victory for Duke? What did each team do well in each half? And what did each team struggle with each half?
Duke 1st Half
- Rebounded Well: Duke dominated the glass, despite shooting poorly. They had a 27 to 19 advantage in the first half led by Vernon Carey’s five rebounds. Attacking the glass was huge for Duke and kept them ahead in the first half.
- Got To The Free Throw Line: Duke used their rebounding advantage to get second-chance points and more importantly getting to the free-throw line. Duke shot four more free throws than Brown and made nine of their eleven attempts.
- Cold From Three: Duke really struggled to hit shots in the first half of this game. They not only shot just 33%, but they failed to hit a single three-pointer. Seven different Blue Devils took a three and every one of them missed. This game could have been over early if they just hit a couple of them, most of which were open.
- No Sense Of Urgency: Duke quite simply looked flat in the first half. Coach K at the eleven-minute mark called a time out and was furious. This was only Duke’s second game in the last three weeks and it showed. No urgency, no fight, just leading due to inferior competition.
Brown 1st Half
- Anderson Got It Going: The Ivy League-leading scorer played okay in the first half. He scored nine points, all on three-pointers He shot just three for nine, but him hitting shots kept Brown close in this one. Anderson also dished out three assists for his teammates to lead the charge.
- Tamenang Choh Struggled: The Bear’s second-leading scorer could not hit a shot in the first half. He finished the half with just one point on zero for two shooting. His five rebounds helped, but they desperately needed scoring from him. He also turned the ball over four times.
- Gave Up Offensive Boards: Brown could not keep the taller Blue Devils off the offensive glass. Duke had fifteen offensive rebounds in the first half which is inexcusable. With only six for the Bears, the rebounding battle was what kept Duke ahead.
- Too Many Turnovers: Brown let Duke keep the lead by not taking care of the ball. Brown had ten turnovers in the first half, led by Choh with four. This led to dunks from Stanley and Carey Jr. which kept Duke energized. Brown knew they had to clean it up or Duke would blow them out in the second half.
Halftime Score: Duke 35 Brown 29
Duke 2nd Half
- Vernon Carey Jr. Set The Tone: Vernon woke Duke up in the second half. In the first four minutes, he scored eight points and grabbed a rebound to help Duke extend their lead. He finished with nineteen points and seven rebounds on the day. Another impressive outing for the freshman.
- Alex O’Connell Spark: This writer has been incredibly critical of Alex O’Connell, but he stepped up in the second half. Alex hit a couple of deep twos, that built his confidence. That would lead to his two three-pointers as well, Dukes only two of the game. Now he just needs to do this more consistently.
- Lost Offensive Glass Battle: While Duke dominated in the first half on the offensive glass, Brown did in the second. Brown had twelve second-half offensive rebounds to Dukes three. Luckily Brown shot poorly, or they could have made Duke pay and kept it close.
- Sloppy Play: Duke lacked the killer instinct for the majority of the second half. They had some sloppy turnovers and did not play with the edge we are accustomed to seeing. Duke turned the ball over six times in the second half.
Brown 2nd Half
- Kept Turning It Over: The turnover battle was definitely lost by the Bears today. They had seven turnovers to Dukes six in the second half. They allowed Duke to block them five times and steal from them six times. With 22 blocks and steals total for Duke, they outmatched the Bears defensively.
- Anderson Underperformed: Brandon had nine points in the first half, but only had seven in the second. He finished with just three assists, all of which came in the first half. He was their leader and he failed to lead from the front, finishing five points under his season average.
- Tamenang Choh Struggled Again: Anderson may have struggled, but Choh flat out did not show up for this game. He finished with just five points, made just two field goals and one free throw. He also had another turnover in the second half and finished with four fouls. So tough to watch Choh play today.
- Got To The Line: This is both a positive and negative for the Bears. Brown went to the free-throw line for eleven shots in the second half. They only made four of those attempts. Getting the other team into foul trouble is good, but not making them pay for it is not.
Final Game: Duke 75 Brown 50
Next Game Ahead
Duke will only have a couple of days off before kicking off ACC play. They will welcome the Boston College Eagles (8-5) to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday. Boston College will be coming off a ten-day break and Duke will need to jump all over them early. They should be sluggish and will need to make them pay. Brown, on the other hand, will now have to wait until the new year for their next game. They will take on the Rhode Island Rams (7-3) at home. A win here could be huge for Brown’s season, as they will soon be taking part in Ivy League play.
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