After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils survived strong Oregon State and Xavier teams, but fell in the final of the Phil Knight Legacy to Purdue. The Blue Zone breaks down the game:
One player: Zach Edey
Edey was a force in the title game. The 7-foot-4 center dominated every inch of the floor, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 boards for his fifth double-double of the season. His size and strength made him virtually impossible to stop, and Duke’s big men, all at least three inches shorter than Edey, simply couldn’t keep up. When the Boilermakers needed Edey, he stepped up, recording all five of his offensive boards in the second half to give Purdue second-chance opportunities and ice the game down the stretch.
Perhaps the most daunting number Edey put up, however, was his eight drawn fouls. The junior’s prowess in the paint forced the Blue Devils to foul him to attempt to slow him down. It was largely unsuccessful, as Edey knocked down 7-of-8 of his attempts from the line. The attention he garnered from the Duke defenders also opened up the floor for his teammates. The Boilermakers took advantage of the space and shot 44.8% from the floor, including 38.9% from three. Their 75 points were the most Duke has allowed this season.
One word: Stagnant
The Blue Devil offense could not get rolling Sunday. It failed to reach 60 points for the second time in three games in a performance reminiscent of its 54-point showing against Oregon State. 3-point shooting was once again an issue: Duke went 2-for-19 from beyond the arc, an even worse mark than its 5-for-29 tally against the Beavers. Both treys against Purdue were made by standout freshman Kyle Filipowski—no other Blue Devil could knock one in from downtown.
Duke’s offense has not been able to keep up with its heavyweight opponents. With its date with No. 25 Ohio State imminent, it must find a way to get open looks—and make those shots. While the Blue Devils won’t face the same obstacle in the paint against the Buckeyes, whose tallest player is 6-foot-11, they have to find a diverse set of ways to score. The bright spot in that regard against the Boilermakers was guard Tyrese Proctor. The freshman has massively stepped up his offensive game from the first few contests of the season. He scored 16 points Sunday afternoon, his highest total yet.
One stat: 0-of-11 made 3-pointers in the second half
In the second half, Duke didn’t make a single 3-pointer. It entered halftime down 11 after scoring seven unanswered to close out the first period, and while it was being outplayed, it seemed like it had a chance to storm back in the second half. However, no one was able to step up and hit those tough shots, leading to the 19-point defeat.
The Blue Devils’ offensive shortcomings in the Phil Knight Legacy were what did it in. They shot just over 20% from long-range throughout their three tournament games with only twelve made 3-pointers, two less than they made against Bellarmine just one week ago. Hopefully for Duke these inconsistencies are just early-season kinks to be worked out, for it has some formidable foes coming up on its schedule.
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Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.