Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Pummel Iona in First Round

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 15: Trevon Duval
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 15: Trevon Duval /

The Duke Blue Devils locked in on defense in the second half to run away from the Iona Gaels in the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

After a horrific defensive effort in the first half, Duke switched from a 2-3 zone to a 3-2 zone in the second half to catapult themselves into the Round of 32 on Saturday.

Iona shot 55.2% in the first half, making 16 of 29 from the field, however, the Blue Devils topped Iona shooting 61.8% sinking 21 of their 34 shots.

After the scheme switch, Iona only made 10 of their 31 shots in the second half.

Duke did not need to make any offensive adjustments in the second half as Iona just did not have the size to keep up with the Blue Devils.

All of the Duke starters reached double figures except Wendell Carter Jr. who had 9 points.

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Marvin Bagley III led the way with 22 points, but the most impressive Blue Devil was Trevon Duval.

Duval finished with 19 points on 7-11 shooting, 4-5 from three-point range, and 8 assists. Any questions about Duval’s ankle injury he sustained against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament are in the rearview mirror after this great performance.

Both Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. added 16 points in the winning effort for the Blue Devils.

Some areas of concern for the Blue Devils were the lack of bench points and the transition defense.

Duke’s bench only accounted for 7 points, all in the second half. Marques Bolden added five loud points, an and-one, and a monster putback dunk. Justin Robinson had the other two point with another major dunk.

As for the transition defense, they just looked slow. Iona was looking to push the ball up the floor after a made Duke basket and Duke just looked a little lackadaisical on the way back down the floor. Nothing overly concerning for Duke, just something to fix mentally.

The Blue Devils will take on the Rhode Island Rams on Saturday as they took down Oklahoma in overtime. The time has not yet been announced for that game.