the home of legends
C.B. Claiborne, who was the Blue Devils’ first-ever African American player, is without a doubt one of Duke’s most noteworthy players, having passed through the storied halls of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Before the game on Monday, Claiborne was recognised, and every Duke player wore a special warm-up jersey with his name and the number 23 on the back. Claiborne was in attendance. The Blue Devil supporters cheered wildly as he was introduced at centre court halfway through the first half.
Moreover, Nolan Smith, a former Duke player and assistant head coach, returned to Cameron Indoor after taking a position on Louisville’s staff in the summer. Smith and the current head coach Jon Scheyer worked together on the coaching staff of previous head coach Mike Krzyzewski as well as during the Blue Devils’ 2010 national championship run.
Cardinals who create havoc
To put it mildly, Louisville is having a difficult season as it shares last place in the ACC. Yet, the Cardinals nonetheless made the decision to create some confusion in what seemed to be a straightforward victory for Duke. By way of a JJ Traynor layup, Louisville scored first, breaking the Blue Devils’ customary offensive flow and maintaining an early lead for the most of the first half. Just before the 10-minute mark, Mark Mitchell fouled while attempting to dunk the ball, giving Duke its first lead of the game from the line. Duke would hold onto that lead until halftime.
Dereck Lively II has sometimes had trouble finding the back of the net this year, but on Monday night when Duke needed points, the rookie big was ready and dominating. The native of Philadelphia put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard from the charity stripe and was a danger around the basket for the duration of the half. Lively took advantage of his height advantage in the paint by shooting an outstanding 3-of-5 from the field and was successful at the foul line with a 3-for-4 percentage. In addition to his regular defensive presence in the post, the former five-star recruit had nine points at the conclusion of the first half.
During the weekend, Syracuse saw what a dominating effort from three can accomplish thanks to interference from Duke. Louisville has done its best to mimic that strategy through one half. El Ellis, a guard for the Cardinals, hit three of his team’s five 3-point attempts, which gave the Blue Devils all kinds of issues. Duke’s defensive prowess down low has a trade-off in that opponents often attempt shots from beyond the paint. The Cardinals have noticed this and taken advantage of it. Despite Louisville’s blazing start cooling down by the end of the first half, the early accurate shooting has kept this game very much in reach.
Player of the half: El Ellis
Durhamite is back. Despite the troubles of his squad, Ellis has improved in 2022–23, averaging a massive 18 points each game. The Durham senior travelled to play in his home city and finished the first half with 15 points after scoring double figures inside the first five minutes. After 20 minutes, Scheyer has not responded to Ellis, and doing so will be essential if Duke is to hold its advantage and maintain its unblemished home record.