Coming off a loss and looking for some good vibes, No. 7 Duke found itself struggling to pull away from Delaware in the second half Friday night.
A hustle-and-toughness play provided the spark the Blue Devils needed.
A possession with two offensive rebounds resulted in a Jeremy Roach 3-point play that started a Duke streak of 12 consecutive points, allowing the Blue Devils to easily dispatch Delaware 92-58 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“That’s what we really wanted to do, be Hungarian than them,” said Roach, a junior guard and Duke’s team captain. “We knew we had to cut off their confidence in the second half.”
In its first game since losing 69-64 Tuesday night to No. 6 Kansas, Duke led Delaware by as many as 13 points in the first half before holding a 42-36 halftime lead. The Blue Devils (3-1) quickly pushed their lead back to 12 points when Mark Mitchell scored in the lane with 16:23 to play for a 52-40 Duke advantage.
But Duke’s offense sputtered again, producing just two points over five minutes of play. That allowed Delaware (1-2) to trim the deficit to seven points with Duke up 54-47 with 12:11 to play.
But a classic Duke hustle possession ignited a 12-0 Blue Devils run that turned the game lopsided.
Jaylen Blakes rebounded Roach’s missed 3-pointer leading to a Dariq Whitehead missed jumper. But Roach rebounded that miss and scored while drawing a foul. His free throw put Duke up 57-47.
After a Delaware miss, Jacob Grandison nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 60-47 Duke lead. Blakes’ steal and slam dunk extended Duke’s lead to a comfortable 62-47 with 10:37 to play.
Roach sank two free throws after being fouled on a dunk attempt and Filipowski scored on a drive to the rim with 10:08 left giving Duke a 66-47 lead.
Filipowski led Duke with 18 points as the Blue Devils shot 50% from the field.
The game was the first of this season in which Duke coach Jon Scheyer had his full complement of players. Whitehead did not play in Duke’s first three games as he recovered from a right foot fracture he suffered on Aug. 29.
Dereck Lively, who missed Duke’s first game of the season last week, earned his first start in his third college game.
“Yesterday we’re coming out for practice, and I told the team, it’s our first day together,” Scheyer said. “It’s our first day and I was so excited coming out to practice. Then the same thing in the locker room before the game. I think we’re gonna learn, I think we’re gonna learn a lot every single day with this group.”
Here’s what else we learned from Duke’s latest win:
Proctor makes an impact
Tyrese Proctor had the best game of his young college career, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while collecting four assists.
The 6-foot-5 guard from Australia hit 5 of 10 shots overall, including 1 of 2 3-pointers. He had only averaged 4.7 points per game making only 4 of 21 shots from the field over Duke’s first three games.
“I think for him,” Scheyer said, “it’s just adjusting to the windows that are open in college basketball. It’s just a different game. I think that’s why you’ve seen them get off to maybe a slower start in the in the first half. So tonight, you could just tell pregame he was moving in a different way. He sped up his game.”
Proctor’s performance means a Duke freshman has recorded a double-double in each of the team’s first four games. Filipowski became the first Duke freshman to have double-doubles in his first three games before finishing just short with 18 points and eight rebounds against Delaware.
Devils using depth
Lively’s improved health allowed Scheyer to utilize a different lineup than Duke used over the season’s first three games, and that extended Duke’s bench use.
The 7-1 freshman center earned his first start, joining four players who had started the first three games in Roach, Proctor, Mitchell and Filipowski.
Young was first off the bench. Before the game had reached its second timeout at the 12-minute mark, Scheyer had used nine players as Grandison, Blakes and Whitehead followed Young entering the game.
Scheyer said the team’s playing rotation and lineups are very much a work in progress. He said it could take a month or two to find what groups work best. But that’s ok, the Blue Devils said. They are glad to be whole again.
“It was great,” Proctor said. “Everyone was super excited before the game. We all found out Dariq was playing yesterday. So it was great. Everyone’s mindset and energy was awesome.”
Lively’s passing a strength
For all his size and athleticism, Lively’s court vision, particularly after missing time due to injury, impressed on Friday night.
He picked up four assists, all coming in half-court sets where he threw passes to the interior. At his size, opponents naturally expect him to be on the receiving end.
Another time, Lively took a pass inside and zipped it across court where Filipowski caught the ball and hit an open 3-pointer. Lively also fed the ball to Mitchell on a post-to-post pass in the lane during the second half where Mitchell drew a foul and hit two free throws. No assist for Lively on that one, but the result was the same — two Duke points.
Whitehead, Lively getting there
In his first game for the Blue Devils, Whitehead displayed far from a polished game. That’s expected, of course, given his health.
Whitehead finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting in 15 minutes. He didn’t commit any turnovers.
“I feel great,” Whitehead said. “I just feel like I need to get another game to get it back going with game speed, game repetition, stuff like that. But body wise I feel great.”
Lively played just 15 minutes before fouling out. In addition tying for the team lead with four assists, he scored five points and grabbed two rebounds. He also played a turnover-free game.
This story was originally published November 18, 2022 9:01 PM.