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Duke men's basketball uses big second-half run to defeat Delaware in Whitehead's debut

<p>Sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes celebrates hitting a 3-pointer during Duke's run at Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday.</p>

Sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes celebrates hitting a 3-pointer during Duke's run at Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday.

The Blue Devils are back in the win column. 

No. 7 Duke defeated Delaware 92-58 in dominant fashion in Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday night. While the Blue Devils jumped in front early, the Blue Hens hung around, keeping the game just close enough to keep them alive until a monster second-half Blue Devil run. 

"Delaware really tested us..." said head coach Jon Scheyer. "...I just loved our defense, our energy, our effort that we came out with in the second half."

With under 12 minutes left to play, Duke caught fire. 

The Blue Devils went on a 38-7 run to finish the game to firmly regain control. Junior captain Jeremy Roach started off the barrage with an offensive board and an and-one layup. Graduate guard Jacob Grandison added a 3-pointer. Kyle Filipowski contributed nine points of his own. But sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes led the charge. The sophomore drained a 3-pointer, slammed a dunk and bothered passes. He scored nine points to go along with his three rebounds and four assists as a giant boost for Duke off the bench. 

"Just feeding off my teammates energy," said Blakes. "When they get going, it gets me going."

Just six minutes into the matchup, Dariq Whitehead saw the court for the first time this season. Scheyer announced earlier Friday that the freshman guard, the No. 3 prospect in the 2022 class, would suit up and be available to play. While only playing 15 minutes, the Montverde Academy product recorded six points, two rebounds and two steals in his much-anticipated debut. 

Duke (3-1) also had its first shake-up in the starting five—for the first time this season, freshman center Dereck Lively II joined the lineup, replacing graduate center Ryan Young. The change meant that four of the five Blue Devil starters were freshmen, though they hid their youth well. In addition to his early alley-oop slam off a Tyrese Proctor lob, Lively totaled five points and four assists through 15 minutes in his first start before fouling out with just under five minutes to play. 

Though by no means a perfect performance, the Duke freshmen looked much more comfortable on the court. After a seven-point second half against Kansas Tuesday, Proctor stepped up once again. The Sydney native was everywhere. He tallied 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, an improvement from the two- and three-point showings he had against Jacksonville and USC Upstate, respectively. The double-double was Proctor’s first, and extended a now-four-game double-double streak for Duke freshmen. 

"It just shows how deep we are, and how much every player can bring every game," said freshman forward Kyle Filipowski on Proctor's rebounding ability as a guard. 

Although his stats were notable, Proctor’s biggest contribution was on defense. The freshman guard was quick on his feet and with his hands, disrupting Delaware’s offensive flow and breaking up its possessions. He applied pressure and contested shots, and while that might not be evident on the stat sheet, it was crucial in keeping the Blue Devils one step ahead of the Blue Hens. 

That step was not always big, however. Within five minutes, Duke had jumped out to a 12-5 lead. And while that trend continued for the first 10 minutes of the half, the final 10 were a different story. Delaware (1-2) surged to cut a Duke lead from as large as 13 down to five with three minutes remaining. The Blue Devils entered the locker room with just a six-point cushion.

In conjunction with Duke’s lull was a quiet first half from Filipowski. After recording three consecutive double-doubles to open his career, the center only had seven points and three rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

Filipowski scored the first points of the second half and grabbed three quick defensive boards in the first five minutes, doubling his total up to that point. He finished with a team-leading 18 points and added eight rebounds. The Westtown, N.Y., native has been a large part of Duke’s offense through the early part of the season, averaging 14 points per contest entering Friday. 

While defense has been a large emphasis for the Blue Devils this season, they did not put up quite as strong a front Friday. Delaware’s 36 first-half points tied the most Duke had allowed in a half as the Jayhawks scored 36 in the second half in Tuesday’s game. The Blue Hens had their fair share of uncontested shots as the Blue Devils were often caught out of position. The defense did adjust, however, and limited Delaware to just 22 second-half points en route to the Duke win. 

"We did a much better job at just being disciplined, controlling the ball and having an awareness for protecting our rim," said Scheyer.

The Blue Devils return to action at home Monday when it takes on Bellarmine at 8:30 p.m. 


Rachael Kaplan | Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.

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