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Duke Survives At Boston College, 65-64

As the Eagles made a gritty and impassioned effort that fell just short.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 07 Duke at Boston College
 CHESTNUT HILL, MA - JANUARY 07: Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) in action during the college basketball game between Duke Blue Devils and Boston College Eagles on January 7, 2023, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Duke went up to Boston Saturday and, as we expected, got a real challenge from Boston College before prevailing 65-64. You might argue that it wasn’t a great win but it would have been a devastating loss.

Duke started the game well but then had three straight turnovers that let BC climb back in. Duke built a small lead to eight at 37-29 with 1:18 left in the first half, but the Eagles clawed their way back into it and cut the lead to 37-33 on a terrific full-court pass from Dermarr Langford to Quentin Post with just one second left in the half.

It was a bit of a harbinger.

The Blue Devils started the second half well, building a 14 point lead at 52-38 with 14:41 left. And then we saw two things: first, Duke being vulnerable and without their captain, point guard Jeremy Roach, who is out with his toe woes. And second, we saw the character that Earl Grant has injected into this program, which we have talked about several times with the greatest admiration.

He’s not getting huge talent - yet. There are no obvious NBA players on his roster, much of which he inherited when he came to BC.

But he’s taught those guys to compete with grit and passion and to just get the job done. And they nearly did.

Kyle Filipowski hit the basket that put Duke up by 14 with 14:41 left and then BC shut the Blue Devils out until Ryan Young, who was the functional captain with Roach out, hit a layup with 11:08 left.

But BC kept coming and kept defending.

Duke’s next points came at the line as Dariq Whitehead hit a pair at 8:43.

Two more foul shots from Ryan Young at the 7:40 mark kept Duke up 58-54.

Prince Aligbe, who had a terrific closing stretch for BC, hit a free throw to cut Duke’s lead to 58-55.

At this point, Duke’s youth began to show a bit. Whitehead rushed a three against BC’s zone and shortly after that, Mark Mitchell missed a free throw but made the second to keep the Devils up by four.

Aligbe made another basket with 2:57 left to cut Duke’s lead to 59-57.

Mitchell made another pair with 2:20 left to put Duke up by four and then Zaeden Zackery, who is the spiritual heart of Boston College’s team, made a really tough layup.

Filipowski finally got another basket for Duke with 1:42 left to build the lead back to 63-59 and then Aligbe struck again, hitting a rare three (he’s hitting just 23.1 percent on the year).

Filipowski also got a steal with :52 left and hit Whitehead for a beautiful pass, but unfortunately he missed the dunk.

Tyrese Proctor had a turnover with :45 left and then Mitchell smothered a Zackery layup but then Zackery stole the ball from Filipowksi with :36 left.

Post hit a jumper with :28 left to briefly give the Eagles a 64-63 lead.

Filipowski hit a pair of free throws to put Duke back on top with 65-64.

There was a lot of chaos on BC’s end of the court following a Duke timeout. Makai Ashton-Langford missed a shot and Duke got it back with 0.5 left on the clock. With Young coaching him, Mitchell threw the ball way down court. Post intercepted it and got a shot off that bounded off the rim, but it might not have been in time.

However, that play really epitomized what we admire about BC’s program. Indeed, much of the second half did.

The Eagles just never quit. They’re not as talented as some teams - most teams, really - but they play with enormous heart and passion. We’re glad Duke won obviously but we love what Grant is doing with his team. It’s tremendous.

We thought that, all things considered, Duke really missed the calming presence of a healthy Roach. If he had been running the point, the Blue Devils would probably have maintained something like a 4-8 point lead in the second half.

In his absence though, we saw Whitehead play his best game and a guy who may emerge as Duke’s go-to scorer. We saw Filipowski’s natural competitive nature re-emerge after a couple of baffling games. We saw Young stepping up as the unofficial team leader with Roach on the bench. And we saw Mitchell make an incredibly clutch block late when Duke desperately needed a stop.

Was it a perfect game?

No such thing.

Was it better than last time?


Unlike at NC State, the Blue Devils got hit in the mouth and kept fighting. You can say that Boston College isn’t all that great and you’d be right. But they are tough as nails and they get inside and score better than anyone else in the conference. And they have Post healthy now, and as viewers saw, having a decent big man changes that team.

In short, it was a win that Duke had to fight for, and earn. And they did. That might seem like a minor victory, or maybe to some of the more spoiled fans, barely a victory at all, but for a young team, with the point guard/captain/leader out, it may have been a perfect scenario: Duke had to earn it, learn and get ready for more talented teams. Those are coming for sure.

We don’t know how many will have more heart than BC though. Even in defeat, they left an impression.


Player Of The Game vs. Boston College

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Mark Mitchell
    (70 votes)
  • 50%
    Dariq Whitehead
    (221 votes)
  • 15%
    Kyle Filipowski
    (67 votes)
  • 15%
    Ryan Young
    (70 votes)
  • 0%
    Tyrese Proctor
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Dereck Lively
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jacob Grandison
    (3 votes)
441 votes total Vote Now