Neither top-ranked Duke nor Texas had an easy time of it in first-round action at the Phil Knight Invitational tournament - but Friday is a new day, as the teams face off in Round 2 action in Portland, Ore. The Blue Devils actually trailed at halftime against Portland State before coming to life in the second half, while the Longhorns nursed a slim lead until pulling away late in a victory over Butler.
Duke found itself down by as many as eight points before kicking into another gear, riding 22 points from Trevon Duval and 18 from Marvin Bagley III to prevail 99-81; the Blue Devils have won all six of their games by at least 17 points, but this one wasn’t supposed to be that close. “The first half we obviously weren’t playing like we were normally do,” Bagley said afterward. “We weren’t doing the things that we do well. We weren’t going to our strengths. We kind of came out sluggish. But going into the second half, it was just ‘You have to wake up.’” The Longhorns also sleepwalked through their first half against Butler, but used a terrific defensive effort to subdue the Bulldogs 61-48. Texas hasn’t allowed more than 60 points during its season-opening four-game winning streak.
TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT DUKE (6-0): There are few dull moments with guard Grayson Allen on the court - and Thursday was no exception, as the enigmatic senior picked up a technical for taunting a Portland State player late in the victory. Allen asserted himself well after scoring just five points in Duke’s previous game against Furman, overcoming a 2-for-7 shooting performance by pouring in 14 points - thanks to 9-for-11 showing from the free-throw line - and adding nine assists. Bagley is averaging just over 20 points in three games since settling for a four-point performance while getting injured in a narrow victory over Michigan State.
ABOUT TEXAS (4-0): Friday’s marquee matchup pits Bagley against highly touted Longhorns recruit Mohamed Bamba, who has impressed in his first three collegiate games and will continue to be a focal point of NBA scouts against the Blue Devils. The Harlem native scored just six points against Butler but added 12 rebounds and four blocked shots and is averaging 11.3 points, 10 rebounds and 4.3 blocks while shooting 13-of-22 from the floor. Second-year guard Andrew Jones led the way with 16 points against the Bulldogs and has scored 14 or more points in three of four games this season.
1. Bagley has shot at least 50 percent from the field in all six games.
2. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has 200 career victories with Duke as the top-ranked team in the nation.
3. Longhorns F Dylan Osetkowski averages 11 points and nine rebounds but is just 6-for-19 from the field over his past two games.
PREDICTION: Duke 86, Texas 70