After each Duke game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils took down Ohio State at home Wednesday evening to rebound from last weekend’s crushing loss to Purdue. The Blue Zone breaks down the game:
One player: Kyle Filipowski
The 7-foot freshman has continued to provide an offensive spark for the Blue Devils, scoring double figures in every game thus far. Filipowski led the team with 16 points against the Buckeyes, while shooting 6-for-11 from the field, his highest efficiency all season. The Westtown, N.Y., native set the tone early, scoring the first Duke points with a layup finish over Ohio State’s Justice Sueing. Filipowski bookended his scoring with another crucial and-one off of a spin move with 2:37 remaining in the game. After he connected on the free throw, the Blue Devils extended their lead to eight points and never looked back. Filipowski had an all-around elite performance, grabbing seven rebounds while also recording three steals. This was the first game this season in which Filipowski did not attempt a 3-pointer, but he maintained his typical scoring production nonetheless. This showcased his versatility, as Filipowski used his size to score in the post over defenders.
One word: Unselfish
In Portland, Ore., Duke faced some of its toughest competition all year. Over the course of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, the Blue Devils dished out nine assists in victories against Oregon State and Xavier, and eight in a loss to Purdue. However, they had 16 assists against Ohio State Wednesday, and seven different players recorded an assist. Duke displayed excellent ball movement throughout the evening, contributing to the flow of the offense. The Blue Devils focused on feeding the ball inside, and the big men trio of Filipowski, Dereck Lively II and Ryan Young either kicked it back out to an open shooter or looked for a backdoor cut. In a two-minute span in the first half, Lively hit graduate guard Jacob Grandison cutting to the rim, and Young did the same with sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes. For their next basket, the Blue Devils executed a fast break with perfection, as freshman guard Tyrese Proctor passed to Blakes who fed Lively for a ferocious dunk. Junior captain Jeremy Roach was the key facilitator once again, recording a team-high five assists. Roach showed his ability to pass well out of the pick and roll, feeding Lively for multiple finishes as well as assisting a Mark Mitchell triple. If Duke can continue to pass the ball like this, it can be a dangerous team come ACC play.
One stat: 26-30 from the free-throw line
This was by far the most free throws Duke has made all season, and it was the first time the Blue Devils scored over 20 points from the charity stripe. Perhaps more impressive is that with the volume of free throws made, Duke still managed to shoot 86.7% on these shots. This was extremely important for the Blue Devils in the second half, as they were in the bonus for the last 12 minutes. Throughout the game, Duke displayed aggressiveness in driving to the basket, which gave the team many opportunities from the line. The Blue Devils took advantage of these, converting eight of their final nine free throws. The Duke backcourt was especially effective from the line, as Proctor went 6-for-6 and Roach went 7-for-9.
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Ranjan Jindal is a Trinity first-year and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.