After an early back-and-forth with Boston College, Duke build a lead around 8 1⁄2 minutes into the first half and while you can’t say they completely escaped BC until late, they were never seriously threatened either.
Duke was up 17-16 about 8:50 in before building a lead that would never shrink much.
But give Boston College a lot of credit. They were not just short but also shorthanded and Duke had a massive size advantage. Still, the Eagles never quit and they showed a lot of poise and discipline. They lost 75-59 but still have a lot of positives to take away. We remain impressed with BC coach Earl Grant. Talent is an issue but clearly, his team is listening and responding to him.
There were a lot of positives for Duke, too. In the first few minutes, Dereck Lively did a pretty nice impression of Bill Russell c. 1960. He was incredibly active in the lane, blocking a couple of shots and forcing adjustments on others.
That guy owned the lane for the first little bit. He could have charged rent.
Dariq Whitehead is starting to show us what the fuss is about. He is beginning to play instinctively and he’s quick and powerful. One rebound was really impressive because he was in traffic at an awkward angle.
Still went up and got it.
He also had a beautiful drive late in the game. He’s getting better fast.
Mark Mitchell had a solid game too, including, unless we missed something, a late personal streak of eight points. He shot 6-7 and led Duke with 15.
Kyle Filipowski finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds and is learning when he can and can’t lean into his spin move and other tricks.
Tyrese Proctor is settling in and had nine points and three assists vs. Boston College. He’s figuring out where he is and what he can do, much like Filipowski.
Jeremy Roach played at a pretty high level too and is proving to be a guy who can make big plays when needed.
Young got in but didn't do too much that registers in the stats. Jaylen Blakes had three points and five assists and helped put considerable pressure on the defense.
The difference in this came down to Duke’s tough defense and BC’s lack of competent height. Quentin Post, the 7-0 big man who has missed time, dressed but did not play.
And that was rotten luck for the Eagles, because Lively, for the first time at Duke, was dominant and Filipowski was a load, too.
It got worse after TJ Bickerstaff caught an elbow from Filipowski and left for the locker room. At one point, BC was guarding Duke with a bunch of 6-5 and 6-6 guys and they just couldn’t. There were two plays where Boston College players tried to pass over Duke bigs Filipowski and Christian Reeves, and those guys just pulled the ball out of the air.
Special props to Jaeden Zackery and CJ Penha. Neither gave up and both presented some real problems for Duke’s defense.
This was a really good growth game for Duke, mainly, but not exclusively because Lively and Whitehead, after their respective injuries, are coming around. But it was more than that.
Duke shot better from the three point line than they have in some recent games and hit 52.8 percent overall. But they’re coming together as a group and confidence, particularly for Lively, Whitehead and Proctor, is surging. All three are doing things they couldn't have done, or at least not as confidently, as they are now.
Next up is Iowa on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic and we’ll see how they deal with a very different sort of challenge there.
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- 5 observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Boston College
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- Box Score (PDF)
- Postgame Notes (PDF)
- Coach Scheyer Quotes (PDF)
- Player Quotes (PDF)
Player Of The Game vs. Boston College
This poll is closed