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Duke Blows By LaSalle, 95-66

Lots of promise in this one

NCAA Basketball: La Salle at Duke
Nov 21, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Mark Mitchell (25) drives to the basket as La Salle Explorers forward Efe Tahmaz (14) defends during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won 95-66. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke won by 29, but it wasn’t as much of a blowout as you might think.

Yes, Duke pulled away in the second half, but we’d keep an eye on LaSalle. It’s not a perfect team, but their guards are extremely quick. It’s the kind of team that, if it gets into the postseason, you're not going to want to see them.

We’ll come back to that.

For the most part, it was a fun game for Duke. You can start to see the picture coming together now of what sort of team this can become.

The known quantities - Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach - were pretty effective, although Roach shot poorly at just 2-8.

But generally speaking, they played well. Filipowski started a bit slow, but that might be because of the ankle injury he suffered last time out vs. Bucknell.

He started and played 23 minutes, but it’s possible that he was a bit off his feed because his conditioning may not be at a razor’s edge.

He started slow but finished strong, however.

Mitchell and Proctor combined to shoot 12-17, with Mitchell hitting for 12 and Proctor 22. Proctor was particularly impressive because he was more aggressive than he has been so far this season. He took his defenders to the rack quite often and was successful on his drives.

Roach as we said didn’t shoot well but we didn't notice much else that he did poorly. The shot will come when it does.

Like Filipowski, Jared McCain started slow. We’ve seen enough of him to understand his potential. He’s wicked smart and when he’s more settled, he’s going to be a lethal shooter. And as he did against Bucknell, he rebounded well again, getting six here and 16 in the last two games.

He didn't shoot well - just 2-7 - and both of those makes coming fairly late.

Caleb Foster was a mixed bag too. He’s starting to get a better idea of when and what he can do. He shot slightly better than McCain, but McCain is ahead on defense and certainly as a rebounder.

Ryan Young didn't shoot or rebound particularly well but he was effective, and he’s particularly effective as a passer.

Jaylen Blakes came in and got 15 minutes. His primary role is likely to be as a defender/disruptor and he’s very good in that capacity. He put real pressure on LaSalle’s guards.

And we also got to see TJ Power hit three out of four threes late. It’s not clear how long it will take, but he’s going to be a factor at some point. He’s a good ballplayer.

But the guy who was the most fun against LaSalle, without question, was Sean Stewart.

We love watching him. And while it’s more fun to watch him do good stuff, no matter what he does, he’s just fun to watch.

First, he can do things that no one else on the team can do and you never know for sure what he actually will do. On one play, he caught the rebound with his back to the basket and kicked it out immediately, before touching down. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s improving quickly and becoming a key part of the rotation. We’ll have to think about this more carefully, but he’s possibly the best athlete at Duke since Zion Williamson.

He just makes things happen. Sometimes it’s good things and sometimes it’s bad. It’s never boring though. Against the Explorers, Stewart finished with 16 points and 10 boards - and six of them were offensive. If he can continue to pull down offensive rebounds like that, he’s got a role that no one will take away.

Stewart could emerge as a really key player for Duke. As we said, he can do things no one else on this roster can do. The faster he comes on, the better Duke will be.

There was a lot to like in this game. Coach Jon Scheyer will love this stat - Duke had just five turnovers and four of them were by freshmen (the other was by Filipowski).

Back to those Explorer guards: Jhamir Brickus and Anwar Gill both pulled moves that made you rub your eyes and think: did I really just see that? It was incredibly impressive.

We don't know anything about Dunphy’s predecessor, Ashley Howard, other than his dad is former Maryland great Mo Howard. The younger Howard had four years at LaSalle and four losing records and that’s a hard sell.

But he left some decent pieces for Dunphy to work with and given Dunphy’s vast experience and widespread respect, we’d say this is a team that might sneak into the tournament. And if it does, it’ll be as a lower seed. And this is not a team you want to face early, certainly not with those guards. Don’t let a 29 point Cameron loss confuse you: this could become a very dangerous group in March.

Notes - late in the second half, Filipowski pulled off a terrific no-look pass...Coach K turned up to see his old friend Dunphy’s return to Cameron...ESPN flashed a stat that the win over LaSalle was Scheyer’s 501st game as a Duke coach or player...Christian Reeves is out of his boot but still not dressing...When Power hit his trio of threes the building got louder with each one...when he launched his fourth, people might have blown the windows out had it gone in...LaSalle shot just 6-24 on threes...

Poll

Player of the Game vs. LaSalle

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Mark Mitchell
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Kyle Filipowski
    (6 votes)
  • 62%
    Tyrese Proctor
    (120 votes)
  • 0%
    Jared McCain
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jeremy Roach
    (0 votes)
  • 27%
    Sean Stewart
    (52 votes)
  • 3%
    TJ Power
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Neal Begovich
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Ryan Young
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Caleb Foster
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (1 vote)
191 votes total Vote Now