Marvin Bagley III threw down dunks, grabbed rebounds and even sank a pair of 3-pointers.
And as if Notre Dame didn’t have enough to worry about Thursday night with Bagley getting off to a fast start, Duke guard Grayson Allen found his shooting touch and drained long 3-pointers with ease.
With Bagley dominating the paint and Allen hitting shots from beyond the arc, the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (26-6) pulled away after halftime to coast to an 88-70 win in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y.
A day after the Fighting Irish (20-14) erased a 21-point, second-half deficit to shock Virginia Tech in a 71-65 win, they never had an opportunity to pull off another comeback with Bagley showing why he’s undeniably the league’s top player.
Bagley had another remarkable performance, scoring 33 points and grabbing 17 rebounds before taking a seat with Duke firmly in control in the final minutes. Allen added 23 points, 17 of them coming in the first half when he drained 5 3-pointers.
Duke, moving a step closer to defending its ACC Tournament championship, will face the winner of the North Carolina/Miami quarterfinal game in a 9 p.m. ET Friday night semifinal game.
Grayson Allen’s hot hand
Allen drained a 3-pointer, then sank another one. Before Notre Dame knew what was happening, the Duke guard had hit another deep 3-pointer.
Allen quickly got into a rhythm, sinking his first 5 3-point attempts and scoring 17 of Duke’s first 34 points — some with ease from NBA range.
During a span of 54 seconds, Allen made a trio of 3-pointers to score to give the Blue Devils a 25-17 lead with 12:43 remaining in the first half.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey admitted his defenders often lost track of Allen, and he made them pay for it with his hot shooting. The senior scored only 6 points after halftime, but he didn’t need to do much work with Bagley taking over down the stretch.
Marvin Bagley III’s fast start
Bagley wasted no time asserting himself, scoring his first basket on a layup 46 seconds into the game. He threw down a dunk less than 1 minute later.
After draining a 3-pointer and converting another dunk, Bagley had scored 9 of Duke’s first 14 points. He made his first 4 shots and it appeared as if there wasn’t much Notre Dame could do to slow down the ACC Player of the Year.
But Bagley did slow down some — albeit briefly — after Allen took from outside. The freshman was also bothered by a jammed right finger that forced him to briefly take a seat on the bench.
Still, Bagley continued to dominate in the paint, which was needed with fellow big man Wendell Carter Jr. battling foul trouble and being held scoreless in the first half.
Bagley made 15 of 23 shots and showed his range by hitting 2 of 3 shot from beyond the arc. He was also a tenacious rebounder, grabbing 13 defensive boards as Duke out-rebounded Notre Dame 40-29.
Wendell Carter Jr.’s foul troubles
Not everything went according to plan for the Blue Devils.
Carter, who has been one of the ACC’s top post players alongside Bagley, struggled on the floor and battled foul trouble. He made only 1 of 6 shots for 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
The freshman picked up the first 3 fouls committed by Duke, forcing him to sit early in the first half. He was never able to get into a rhythm, missing both of his 3-point attempts.
He also couldn’t play as aggressive as usual while trying to avoid fouling out.
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