As we suggested in our preview, Bucknell is a basketball school with a proud history and we didn't think they would roll over easily.
And in fact they hung with Duke a fairly long time Friday evening, with Duke only up 33-29 with 3:33 left in the first half.
But an 11-0 run in that last 3:33 put Duke up 44-29 at the half and that proved to be a bridge too far for the Bison to thunder across.
But before that happened, and really after, Bucknell played with pride, heart and pretty clearly is a well-coached team.
But so is Duke.
Bucknell came out in a 2-3 zone and for a while it seemed to bother Duke, or maybe it just took a while to get on track.
The Bison basically kept up with the Blue Devils for most of the first half. Duke pulled away to a 19-10 lead saw Bucknell cut that to two on the back of a great run by Jack Forrest, who hit 10 straight points.
It was at this point that Jon Scheyer got an uncharacteristic technical, upset over what he perceived as a missed call. Generally speaking, the crowd seemed to approve of his fire.
Duke pulled away again in a few minutes, going up 33-24 before Bucknell rallied again, cutting the lead back to 33-29.
It was about this point that Kyle Filipowski went down, grimacing in pain, and it looked for all the world like a serious injury. He was helped off the floor and didn’t return in the first half.
After he left for the locker room, his teammates rallied, ripping off that 11 point run.
Tyrese Proctor hit a three, then Jeremy Roach hit one. Then an immortal Cameron moment: Ryan Young stole the ball in the open court and took it all the way in for a dunk. Then Mark Mitchell made a three point play the old fashioned way.
Late in halftime, after Duke came back out, Kyle Filipowski returned and seemed okay. He played for a few more minutes and once the lead was more or less insurmountable, he left the game and didn’t return.
And in the second half, Duke dialed its offensive efficiency way up and the lead just kept building.
By that point, the Blue Devils had done two things: first, they had learned how to pick Bucknell’s defense apart and second, the Bison began to tire. So it was easy pickings as the lead grew and grew, ultimately going to 30.
This is where we knew Bucknell was well-coached and on the right path: that team kept playing hard and executing well. They were outclassed but they kept their composure and never stopped trying.
They just ran into a better team they couldn’t entirely compete with.
For Duke, all the starters finished in double figures except for Jeremy Roach, who had nine, but who shot 3-5 and 2-3 from outside.
Mark Mitchell was the offensive star with 20 points on 8-13 and 1-3 from the floor. He also had six rebounds, as did Filipowski. He only played 17 minutes, but scored 10 points in that time.
Jared McCain had 17 points, hitting 5-7 on threes and 5-8 overall. Most impressively, he had 10 rebounds - at 6-3.
Tyrese Proctor finished with 13 points, hitting 3-6 on threes and 5-8 overall.
As we thought might happen, Caleb Foster did not match his brilliant performance against Michigan State. He took seven threes and made two and hit 3-9 overall. He also had six assists, so apparently he’s going to find a way to have an impact.
Young didn't rebound or shoot well, but he led the team in assists, and his assists have become swift, decisive and lethal. He’s really improved in that area.
Jaylen Blakes played 17 minutes and while he only scored two points, Agent Chaos caused a certain amount of, well....chaos.
Blakes has the ability to attack an offense and just drive people crazy. He did it again here a couple of times
What’s interesting is that Sean Stewart is sort of doing it too. He doesn’t always know exactly what to do, but he’s talented enough, and unpredictable enough, that he, too, can cause chaos.
But he keeps doing little things that set him back. At one point, he started to jump over someone to get a rebound. It’s possible of course, but it’s also a way to get a quick foul. So is reaching in to get a board after you miss a free throw.
But he also got seven rebounds and three steals. We’d love to be in the video review when the staff reviews his performance.
TJ Power also got in for his first extended minutes - he got 11 - and while he didn't hit a basket, he did a lot of smart, little things. And this is small too but revealing - he showed a great defensive stance. That suggests a solid grasp of basics.
Overall, Duke did really well. The team shot 49.2 percent while holding Bucknell to 37 percent. The Blue Devils assisted on 23 of 32 baskets and kept turnovers to just seven.
Rebounding went Duke’s way too, 46-27. Offensive boards were blue too, 13-5.
To be fair, even though we thought Bucknell showed great effort and poise, they were outmatched.
Still, it was a solid night by Duke and one to build on.
Notes - Christian Reeves sat this game out with a walking boot on his right foot...the crowd generally seemed pretty excited about Scheyer’s technical....from the cheap seats, Filipowski’s injury looked pretty serious but fortunately it wasn’t...Forrest did heat up in the first half, but he still hit just 5-14 and 3-9...Duke won the free throw line with 13-16 to Bucknell’s 11-15...Duke shot 81.3 percent...so far the Devils have hit 75 percent against both Dartmouth and Arizona, then 80 percent against Arizona...next stop: LaSalle on Tuesday in Basketball Paradise...
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- Box Score (PDF)
- Postgame Notes (PDF)
- Coach Scheyer Quotes (PDF)
- Player Quotes (PDF)
Player of the Game vs. Bucknell
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