After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils outlasted Oregon State in the first round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, 54-51, and the Blue Zone breaks down the performance:
One player: Kyle Filipowski
Once again, the star freshman provided the offensive spark that the Blue Devils needed in their opening game in Portland, Ore. Filipowski scored a career-high 19 points while shooting 5-of-13 from the field, leading Duke to a narrow win against the Beavers. The center went 8-of-9 from the charity stripe and added 14 boards, providing the Blue Devils a steady pulse throughout an otherwise rough game with his fourth double-double.
Perhaps Filipowski’s most impactful play came with four minutes remaining in the contest. The Westtown, N.Y., native was switched onto Oregon State guard Jordan Pope. Despite a speed disadvantage, Filipowski was able to stay in front and pick Pope’s pocket, allowing Duke a chance to extend its lead. Extend the lead he did, grabbing an offensive rebound off a Tyrese Proctor miss and drawing a foul, making both free throws. Filipowski’s defensive prowess and ability to do the dirty work while also creating his own shots makes him dangerous and helped propel Duke to a win on a day when it needed someone to step up.
One word: Flat
Duke’s performance on Thursday brought to the forefront the struggles that a team with 11 new players and a new coach will inevitably encounter throughout the season. A main issue, with so many moving parts, is finding ways to get rolling early. On the first play of the game, Beavers' forward Dzmitry Ryuny buried a 3-pointer, a bucket that Duke followed up with two misses. The Blue Devils couldn't find pull away as their offense struggled. Duke shot 26.7% percent from the field, the lowest mark in a win in program history. Oregon State’s zone defense forced the Blue Devils to settle for jump shots which simply were not falling. Guards Jeremy Roach and Proctor went a combined 4-of-21 from the field and never seemed to find their groove, leaving Duke with a lack of momentum and intensity. Luckily for the Blue Devils, the bigs stepped up, with Filipowski scoring 19 and graduate transfer Ryan Young adding 11 in two hard-fought battles down low. This performance was a stark contrast from Monday’s efforts against Bellarmine, a game in which Duke shot 45.5% from the field, including 14 made threes. The defense certainly seems like it has brought its tenacity to Portland, suffocating the Beaver offense and keeping the Blue Devils in the game. As the saying goes, a win is a win, and Duke will certainly take this one and look to pick it up a notch in terms of energy in the tournament semifinals.
One stat: 22 offensive rebounds
In a matchup in which Duke struggled to knock down shots, crashing the glass and scoring second-chance points was crucial. The Blue Devils had 45 total rebounds, 22 of which were offensive. Duke’s size advantage allowed them to clean up misses from the outside, leading to easy buckets inside or drawn fouls against the Beavers. Filipowski accounted for five of these offensive rebounds, while Young had eight. Filipowski may have had the most important second-chance points of the night, as his offensive rebound and layup provided Duke the lead with 34 seconds left, the bucket that ultimately clinched the win.
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