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Let Threedom Ring! Duke Shoots Past Syracuse, 77-55

A memorable night, and one to build on, for Jon Scheyer’s young Duke Blue Devils

Duke v Syracuse
SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils rebounds the ball against Mounir Hima #55 and Maliq Brown #1 of the Syracuse Orange during the first half of the game at JMA Wireless Dome on February 18, 2023 in Syracuse, New York.
Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Duke and Syracuse were in a tight game until it was 19-19 with 8:24 left in the first half. Then Duke went on a 21-2 run and that, as they say, was pretty much that. Duke ran away with the game, winning 77-55.

Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is notoriously difficult to overcome, but it doesn’t necessarily guard three point shooting very well and Duke has not done that very well this year. Well it wasn’t a problem Saturday as the Blue Devils hit 13-26 on threes while holding Syracuse to 6-16.

Boeheim’s zone has been effective for decades, but, three point shooting aside, this is a major key to this game: not counting the six threes, the Orange hit just 13 shots and finished at 19-55 overall for 34.5 percent.

Duke by contrast hit 30-55 overall.

You could reasonably criticize turnovers in the first half, where Duke had nine. Not in the second though: the Blue Devils essentially halved that, finishing with 14.

What was really impressive was the overall flow of the offense. The ball moved around quickly. Mark Mitchell and Kyle Filipowski both got inside of the zone and passed out of it for threes. Dereck Lively got offensive rebounds and passed them back out for more threes.

You could argue that this was Duke’s most impressive game of the season, not least of all because it came on the road where a young Duke squad has struggled mightily this season.

But turnovers aside, and those only in the first half, this didn’t look like a young Duke team. It was clicking offensively against a difficult defense that, as far as we know, only Jeremy Roach and Jaylen Blakes had encountered previously.

And defensively, Duke was by far the better team. Of the starters for Syracuse, Chris Bell was held scoreless and two more, Maliq Brown and Jesse Edwards, were held to six and five points respectively.

Edwards, keep in mind, is a solid senior who was facing two freshmen in Lively and Filipowski.

Judah Mintz, who was as impressive as advertised, had 18 and Joe Girard finished with 21, including one point in the second half where it looked briefly like he might shoot Syracuse back into the game.

But in the end, people are naturally going to focus on the three point shooting, which is fine, even though that’s not the main story. The main story is that a young Duke team went on the road and dominated Syracuse so thoroughly that even in the first half, with nine turnover and some of them just frankly careless, the Blue Devils had a 19 point lead and led at the half by 12.

This is a game that this team would have struggled to win in January.


Player Of The Game vs. Syracuse

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Mark Mitchell
    (25 votes)
  • 11%
    Kyle Filipowski
    (56 votes)
  • 6%
    Dereck LIvely
    (29 votes)
  • 2%
    Tyrese Proctor
    (14 votes)
  • 9%
    Jeremy Roach
    (45 votes)
  • 60%
    Dariq Whitehead
    (286 votes)
  • 0%
    Kale Catchings
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Christian Reeves
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Ryan Young
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Jaden Schutt
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Max Johns
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jacob Grandison
    (1 vote)
476 votes total Vote Now