After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Zone breaks down last night's win against Bellarmine:
One player: Kyle Filipowski
Two early triples—in relatively quick succession—by the Blue Devils’ top scorer gave No. 8 Duke the quick start that it desperately needed. Filipowski matched his career-high with 18 points while shooting 4-of-8 from the field, leading the Blue Devils to a win against the Knights. The center also made 7-of-8 free throws, made 60% of his threes and grabbed eight rebounds, showing consistency both offensively and defensively.
The second half of Monday night’s game began just as quickly, if not faster, than the first. Freshman forward Mark Mitchell banked a shot from downtown at the 19:41 mark, assisted by Filipowski, who then proceeded to bag one himself from beyond the arc just 31 seconds later. The 7-foot center's defensive fervor was also showcased in the second half; he snagged three defensive rebounds in the last three minutes of the period. The versatility and value of the freshman’s leadership and skill are reflected in his continued scoring, rebounding, assisting and defensive success every game.
One word: Improvement
Every aspect of the Blue Devils’ game against Bellarmine showed the growth and maturity of the young team. Duke scored the first points of the night within 52 seconds of play thanks to freshman phenom Filipowski’s 3-point jump shot. Last game, Delaware was the team to draw first blood from a banked shot beyond the arc at the 18:54 mark; the Blue Devils only put their first point on the board from a second attempt free-throw by freshman Dereck Lively II 21 seconds later. Compared to Duke’s loss to Kansas, when it conceded 18 turnovers, the Blue Devils only gave the ball up eight times against the Knights. This progression applies to Duke's overall 3-point shooting accuracy, too. The Blue Devils made an underwhelming 3-of-21 treys against the Jayhawks, but in its subsequent games versus Delaware and Bellarmine, head coach Jon Scheyer’s team made 6-of-14 and 14-of-35—a season high—of its triples against the Blue Hens and Knights, respectively. Even bench points against the Knights saw an improvement from Duke’s battle with Kansas; the Blue Devils’ bench notched 30 points last night compared to just nine against the Jayhawks.
One stat: 2 double-digit scorers for Bellarmine
Duke was able to hold the Knights under 60 points, with only 24 of Bellarmine’s 57 points coming in the second half. The top scorers for the Knights, Curt Hopf and Peter Suder, snatched 11 points apiece. In contrast, Duke’s top two scorers, Filipowski and graduate student Jacob Grandison, accounted for 34 of the team’s 74 points. Junior captain Jeremy Roach also reached double figures, meaning three Blue Devils combined to contribute nearly 60% of the team’s points for the night.
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