After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils took down Iowa 74-62 in a commanding showing last night in the Jimmy V Classic, and the Blue Zone breaks down the performance:
One player: Jeremy Roach
Driving, dishing, pulling up from barely inside and far beyond the arc, junior Jeremy Roach did it all Tuesday night during the 15th-ranked Blue Devils’ 74-62 win against the Hawkeyes in Madison Square Garden, proving exactly why he is the captain of this young team. Roach, who logged nearly 37 minutes, scored 22 points, tallying his season-high and tying his career-high on 8-of-18 shooting from the field.
Roach got hot early. He docked the first points of the game with a drop-step layup and went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc before the halftime buzzer. 11 of his points, in addition to a then-team-leading three assists, came in the first half as well. Early on, the veteran lobbed one to freshman Dereck Lively II for an alley-oop slam before hitting two threes himself in the back end of first-half play. Later, two back-to-back buckets from Roach put the Blue Devils up 67-50 late in the Jimmy V Classic. Despite a late second-half push by the Hawkeyes, the 6-foot-2 guard was able to stop the Iowa run, going 2-for-2 at the charity stripe with just over a minute to play—he finished at 100% from the line.
Roach showcased his confidence and composure, dancing around defenders all game and driving through a crowded paint. On the biggest stage under the brightest lights at the World's Most Famous Arena, the captain had arguably his best performance all season.
One word: Proof
While the Blue Devils’ win against Ohio State demonstrated their potential, it wasn't enough to prove that head coach Jon Scheyer’s team was a true contender following its two losses to the then-sixth-ranked Jayhawks and then-24th-ranked Boilermakers. Prior to the Jimmy V Classic, despite its stellar 8-2 record, Duke had quietly gone 2-2 at neutral sites this season while maintaining an undefeated record at home. The Blue Devils’ all-encompassing performance at Madison Square Garden proved that Duke, in its entirety, can contend on the big stage.
The Blue Devils’ depth shined through in their win against the Hawkeyes with three players, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski and Roach scoring in double figures, and two others, Tyrese Proctor and Dariq Whitehead, not far behind with eight points each. After making just five total threes against Ohio State last week, Duke hit six in the first half alone against Iowa. 49% of the Blue Devils’ first-half points came from beyond the arc, and they closed the game with 21 points from three. Duke also grabbed 45 rebounds to Iowa’s 35 during the Power Five matchup, including 21 from centers Ryan Young and Filipowski combined.
Mitchell, who has been inconsistent thus far this season, proved he has what it takes to remain in the starting lineup. The freshman forward shot 6-of-8 from the field and went 5-for-5 at the line with a huge second-half burst. He recorded a team-leading 13 points during the second period, securing the Blue Devil victory.
With their win against Ohio State last week and now this Hawkeye hammering at Madison Square Garden, Scheyer and company have proved they can win in big moments.
One stat: 8 points
Iowa star Kris Murray had a dominating performance in the Hawkeyes’ win last week against Georgia Tech with 31 points and 20 rebounds. The junior entered Tuesday night’s game averaging 21 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, yet Scheyer’s young squad was able to hold the 6-foot-8 forward to just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting from the floor. Murray went 0-for-3 from beyond the arc and only grabbed seven boards, which falls below his average as well. Limiting Murray to this small performance was crucial to the Blue Devil beating.
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