Duke won the rematch with NC State, 71-67, and in the process won its fifth straight and finished the regular season undefeated in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
You got the distinct feeling that these two teams don’t much like each other. There was plenty of pushing and shoving, particularly between Tyrese Proctor and Terquavion Smith. They were jawing and jostling early and eventually Smith got a technical for knocking Proctor down on an in-bounds play (he pushed Proctor three times; on the third, Proctor fell into the human cushion known as DJ Burns and then to the floor.
No wonder he was irritated: Proctor helped limit him to two points until quite late.
There was a lot of physical play from both teams and Kyle Filipowski, again, was the focus of much of it. Call it the price of success. At one point, the crowd was on Burns and he yelled back that Lively couldn't defend him one-on-one.
Burns is a big, burly player and he’s wicked smart. He knows exactly what he can and can’t do and clearly he’s become a leader. More on that in a bit.
Lively did okay though. He didn’t get in serious foul trouble and forced Burns to shoot over him rather than allowing him to muscle him out of the way as some opponents did earlier in the year. Filipowski helped to double team at times, and while Burns scored 13, he shot just 6-15 to do it.
The State backcourt has been a bit boastful, calling itself the best backcourt in the ACC, and by backcourt, we mean Smith, Jarkel Joiner and Casey Morwell.
Joiner was superb in Cameron but Morsell was 0-8 while Smith shot just 2-9 and both of those came fairly late.
Greg Gantt was just 1-2.
Speaking of Gantt, we got the sense that he and Filipowski aren’t exactly buddies. The tension wasn’t as high as it was between Smith and Proctor or maybe Burns and Lively, but it was there. Those guys clearly didn’t like each other.
You have to say this for State: you know Kevin Keatts craves toughness and that’s a tough group. To beat State now, you need to be really tough too.
Duke showed a lot of it. Filipowski and Lively did not back down to Burns or anyone else. Proctor and Mark Mitchell kept playing hard and making State work for everything. And then there was Jeremy Roach.
Roach, who now has at least one Crazy dressing as a bug in his honor, had a brilliant game.
He scored 20 points and shot 9-19, which could have been better, but so what? He shredded State’s defense on drives and hit key shots to fend off the Pack. Roach played like a man on a mission Tuesday. He was tremendous.
Duke played Dariq Whitehead, Ryan Young and Jacob Grandson off the bench but most of the production came from the starters. Whitehead hit for six, while Young had four.
By the time the second half started, Duke had established a certain level of dominance and ultimately pushed out to a 12-point lead. But the Pack fought back and cut that back to three points at 67-64 with :34 left. Earlier this year, a young Duke team would haver crumbled. Not so much now.
This team has toughened up.
Back to Burns and leadership.
We didn’t see what precipitated Smith’s anger in the second half but he was ready to fight.
Burns put a stop to that. He calmed him down, more or less, and hilariously, held Lively at arms length even though Lively was resisting him. He’s just such a big guy he could hold Lively, who was actually being conciliatory, exactly where he was.
We’ll find out whatever set Smith off later, but our guess is that it was partly because Proctor got thoroughly under his skin.
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- Undefeated at home, winner of five in a row, Duke — as Pete Gillen would say — is finally Duke
- NC State basketball’s late rally against Duke falls short as Pack falls to Blue Devils
- Photos: NC State vs Duke in college basketball action
- Duke basketball gets its revenge, posts 71-67 ACC win over NC State at Cameron In
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Player Of The Game vs. NC State
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