After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. Today, the Blue Zone breaks down the Blue Devils' 69-64 loss to Kansas last night:
One player: Kyle Filipowski
In one of the most anticipated games of the non-conference schedule, freshman center Kyle Filipowski displayed why he is consistently named one of the premier freshmen in the nation. Picking up his third straight double-double in a 17-point and 14-rebound performance, Filipowski had a huge impact on offense and showcased his improved defensive ability.
Perhaps the play of the night for the freshman came just under 15 minutes when he drove past Kansas defenders to finish with a dominant dunk. Along with his presence on the offensive and defensive glasses, the Westtown, N.Y., native showed his range, though it was not very efficient, as he went 1-of-6 in his treys.
Free throw shooting is important in college basketball, and as a big, Filipowski will be sent to the line often. Against the Jayhawks, the freshman displayed that he can handle getting those critical points, as he went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. When the tournament season comes, this asset will be vital as Duke will look to stretch leads or cut deficits against top-tier opponents. Filipowski is now the first Duke freshman to ever start his season with three straight double-doubles, surpassing star center Marvin Bagley III who started his rookie year with two.
One word: Experience
Led by redshirt junior Jalen Wilson and redshirt senior transfer Kevin McCullar Jr., the Kansas Jayhawks have far more collegiate experience than the freshman-dominant Blue Devils. Wilson displayed his championship pedigree, boasting a strong 25-point, 11-rebound performance. Duke’s junior captain and leading veteran Jeremy Roach, who played a relatively strong game, could not keep up with Wilson’s offensive output. Ultimately, Duke suffered from the lack of experience, as its oldest players did not add many points on the board—graduate transfers Ryan Young and Jacob Grandison combined for six points and four rebounds.
The exception that proves the rule, however, besides Filipowski, was Kansas freshman Gradey Dick. The guard was fantastic for the Jayhawks as he showed off his NBA potential with 14 points and an impressive end-of-game stretch in which he added seven points.
On the other hand, this matchup gives experience a second meaning: something to learn from. The Champions Classic came with a lot of firsts: Duke's largest audience, as nearly 16,000 people packed the stands, its first game beginning past 7 p.m. and its first matchup with a ranked opponent, nonetheless the defending national champions. With these experiences behind them, the young Blue Devil program will surely take time to see how they can improve as their schedule ramps up to conference play.
One stat: 14.3% 3-point shooting
While the offensive output on both sides picked up in the second half, the 3-point shooting for both rosters left room for improvement. Duke made 3-of-21 treys, a 14.3% mark from afar, and it also limited the Jayhawks to low accuracy as well—they drained just 3-of-19 from downtown. Yesterday’s shooting represents a change for the Blue Devils, as they came into the contest averaging 34.0% from beyond the arc. While it’s not something to worry about just yet, Duke will need to increase its efficiency to remain competitive down the stretch.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.