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Slow-Watching Duke-NC State: First Half

Duke is still recovering from Covid but looking much, much better

NC State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 15: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 88-73.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images
  • 19:36: Look how well State boxes out Williams and Banchero on Griffin’s three point attempt.
  • 19:17: Sure, Banchero is a freshman. But he moves away from Dowuona and leaves him alone behind the defense and Dowouna gets a dunk. Not smart.
  • 18:57: Banchero utterly suckers Hellems and blows by him then Eurosteps and misses. Williams is there for the follow-up though.
  • 18:32: If this block had counted, Williams would have had nine.
  • 18:14: Dowuona literally started at the top of the key to get this follow up of a missed layup by Allen. But Moore turned his back on Allen first which started this sequence.
  • 17:52: It’s interesting that Keels and Seabron are guarding each other. And here Duke tries the inbounds play they’ve done a lot with Keels in the lane. Didn’t work. Banchero fights for the board but gets stripped by Allen.
  • 17:46: Keels pops the ball loose from Allen. This Duke team is brilliant at reaching around and hitting the ball.
  • 17:32: Banchero is not assertive against Dowuona and misses badly.
  • 17:27: Nice drop-off by Allen for a three by Smith to put State up 9-2.
  • 17:04: Banchero gets a nice shot just inside the foul line.
  • 16:30: Banchero hits an awkward layup over Smith
  • 15:52: Keels tries a three. Banchero does not crash the boards.
  • 15:38: Dowuona sets a supposed screen for Seabron who misses badly…but Dowuona again comes from the top of the key to dunk the follow-up.
  • 15:12: Williams gets open inside and Keels finds him. Great look!
  • 14:51: Moore is an excellent defender. And he knows Seabron will try to drive. But he can’t stop him. Hardly anyone can. Seabron is exceptional.
  • 12:16: Unforced error by Hayes. Watch the referee duck.
  • 12:06: Banchero tries for the dunk but Gibson gets a piece. But a few seconds later he finds John open inside for a dunk.
  • 11:43: Hayes is about to hit a shot but it starts with the screen here by Gibson. Breaks up a 9-0 run by Duke.
  • 11:20: Baker misses on the drive here…but last year he couldn’t have begun to have tried this play.
  • 11:17: John knows what to do for rebounds. Nice move here by the big guy.
  • 11:00: Moore makes a tremendous steal on Seabron here but then turns it back over immediately. And then, again, Seabron gets to the basket despite everyone knowing that’s what he’s going to do.
  • 10:35: Banchero passes to Baker for an open three…but doesn’t go in for the board. He should hang out with Griffin, who is really good at this. Moore did but wasn’t in position to get the rebound.
  • 10:24: Hayes drives but misses. Banchero does go for this rebound. John was pretty smart on defense here too. Sd
  • 10:07: Griffin looks like he wants to pass to Roach under the basket but changes his mind. Unfortunately he’s in the air. He did pass back to Keels though. John sees a lane and tries to dunk but is fouled by Dowuona.
  • 9:48: Not only is Seabron’s first instinct to drive…he almost always drives right. And still no one has been able to stop him all year.
  • 9:28: Griffin hits his only basket of the game.
  • 9:11: Maybe this is why Seabron tends to drive right…
  • 9:03: Baker again drives and misses, but fights and draws a foul on Dowuona. Duke has caught up, long since, and you get the sense that an explosion is imminent. And it’ll come near the end of the half. Griffin gets a remarkable rebound on Baker’s missed FT and when Baker drives and draws the D, watch Williams call for the ball, watch Gibson tip it - and then how brilliantly Williams finishes.
  • 8:19: Watch how Roach falls at the end. Before Covid, and maybe this is just us, his balance/reactions seemed much better.
  • 7:51: Baker fakes Hellems off his feet and steps in for an easy open two.
  • 7:35: Hellems pays Baker back in kind. According to the announcer, State is shooting 52 percent at this point.
  • 7:10: Hellems drives on Baker but Baker blocks him in the lane. Again, something he couldn’t have done last year. He’s vastly improved. Got the ball back too.
  • 6:22: Keels drives and, once again, is compared to a running back.
  • 5:55: Williams grabs the Smith miss and Duke heads downcourt. He hands off to Roach near the three point line and heads on in. No one is near him. He dunks and Duke goes up 34-27. The tide is beginning to turn in Duke’s favor. Nice shot of Bates mentoring Dowuona on the bench.
  • 5:17: Hellems goes up - shot or pass? - can’t tell…but Banchero hits it and Williams picks it up.
  • 5:02: Moore calls for the ball in the lane and his posture is textbook. But Smith blocked the shot.
  • 4:52: You get the feeling that Seabron really doesn’t like going left.
  • 4:39: Williams makes the celebrated pass/reaction to Banchero here on the break as he’s going out of bounds.
  • 4:22: Banchero just sort of sticks his hand in and deflects the ball to Williams. Duke won’t stay up by nine but the trend is clear.
  • 4:08: Williams misses the shot here but he’s beginning to assert himself physically and we love it.
  • 3:46: When we saw this shot go up it seemed odd. Hellems shot quickly b/c Banchero was right there. But it was clearly going in.
  • 3:31: State has cut it to 36-30. Williams sees Banchero heading in and passes but State takes it away. Gibson dunks to cut it to four.
  • 3:18: Moore drives hard but misses the dunk. He draws the foul however and on Gibson, State’s last big man.
  • 2:18: Keels crosses half court ignored. This is a mistake. Duke 41 State 34.
  • 2:02: Keels tips the ball but John can’t react quickly enough because - intelligently - he’s not on top of Gibson outside of the three point line. A few seconds later he does steal the ball as Hellems tries to hit Seabron.
  • 1:48: Smith tries to draw a charge but Moore just goes around him. Wisely, Smith lets it go. Banchero was also open on the other side.
  • 1:07: Roach sees Banchero calling for the ball and drives baseline and delivers. Just a nine point lead, but you start to get the sense that State can’t keep up.
  • 36.7: This probably had to count as one of Moore’s turnovers but it seems unfair. Great effort.
  • 3.2: Duke has had a couple of chances to practice with Jones inbounding. A former QB, we think, he can get the ball downcourt with precision. Didn’t work but worth practicing. It might pay off down the road.