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Marvin Bagley III returns for Duke, but doesn’t get start

Duke forward Marvin Bagley III (35) returns back to action and dunks over the Syracuse defense in the first. Duke battled Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium In Durham, N.C. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.
Duke forward Marvin Bagley III (35) returns back to action and dunks over the Syracuse defense in the first. Duke battled Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium In Durham, N.C. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III returned to action after missing four games with a mild knee sprain when the Blue Devils hosted Syracuse on Saturday. However, Bagley came off the bench for the first time in his Duke career during a 60-44 win.

Grayson Allen, Wendell Carter, Jr. Gary Trent, Jr., Trevon Duval and Javin DeLaurier started for the No. 5 Blue Devils. Bagley, who has started 24 games this season, last game before Saturday was at North Carolina on Feb. 8. Bagley scored 15 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in 39 minutes of action against the Tar Heels. The freshman from Phoenix, Az. missed the next four games - all wins - against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Louisville.

Bagley entered Saturday’s game at the 17:24 mark and scored his first basket two minutes later, giving Duke a 6-4 lead. He finished with a game-high 19 points (8-for-9) in 31 minutes. Bagley also pulled down seven rebounds. Blue Devil’s senior Grayson Allen, who picked up the scoring slack while Bagley was out, said the freshman bigman returned without missing a beat.

“He’s back healthy, he’s 100 percent,” Allen said. “A guy with a motor like that it’s pretty seemless when he gets back out there.”

While Bagley was out all he could do was cheer on his team, so he felt a part of the wins, but being back on the floor was what he had been waiting for.

“Being back out there is a whole different feeling,” Bagley said. “I’m back out there playing with them and we have to keep this rolling.”

Jonas Pope IV: 919-419-6501, @JEPopeIV

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