After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. After the Blue Devils' 84-38 defeat of USC Upstate, the Blue Zone breaks down Kyle Filipowski's second-straight double-double and the rest of Duke's performance:
One player: Kyle Filipowski
The freshman big picked up right where he left off. He recorded his second consecutive double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, leading the team in both stats. There was one notable difference from his debut, though: his composure.
Filipowski didn’t commit a single turnover, and even when the game was speeding up, he knew how to play at his own pace. With six minutes left in the first half, the Westtown, N.Y., native cleverly maneuvered his way around an opponent’s screen to tap the ball out from the dribbling Spartan guard. And with a defender trailing behind him at full steam, Filipowski didn’t force a tough, highly-contested shot. Rather, he decelerated in time to draw the foul, still make the layup and complete an old-school three-point play.
A talented scorer to begin with, Filipowski is already tightening the loose screws in his game. The nation should look out for the type of player he will have developed into come March.
One word: Momentum
The game didn’t start on the most pleasant note for Duke—if anything, it was a dreadful first two minutes for the Blue Devils. A turnover by junior captain Jeremy Roach set up USC Upstate’s Jordan Gainey for an impressively acrobatic layup as he outran a recovering Tyrese Proctor. A second turnover by Roach in the subsequent play gifted the Spartans another open layup. And Khydarius Smith’s corner three gave his team a comfortable seven-point lead. From the opening minute, the momentum was in USC Upstate's favor.
Only briefly, however. The Blue Devils responded with a punch of their own: Led by two emphatic flushes from Dereck Lively II, they logged 14 unanswered points. They followed that up with an exhilarating 15-point run and finished the first half firing on all cylinders.
Momentum was all it took for USC Upstate to strike the historic home team first. But it was also momentum that landed the Spartans in a 47-point deficit with in the second half. They never recovered from those runs as the Blue Devils secured the 46-point blowout win.
And it’s this momentum that head coach Jon Scheyer’s inaugural team will need as it prepares for its highly-anticipated showdown against the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks next week.
One stat: 52 Rebounds
The Blue Devils unleashed all four of their rebound-hungry 7-foot bigs in their blowout win. The result? A whopping 52 boards—32 defensive and 20 offensive.
The team’s elite rebounding paved the way for its defensive prowess and eventual offensive success. The 32 defensive rebounds limited the Spartans second-chance points and started offensive runs of its own. And while Duke struggled to capitalize on its second-chance scoring opportunities in the first half, the second half saw 16 Blue Devil points off of offensive boards.
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