After each Duke game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. In a collaborative effort, the Blue Devils slipped past Miami at home and won by two points. The Blue Zone takes a look at the key stats:
One player: Jeremy Roach
After missing the previous three games due to a reaggravated toe injury, junior guard Jeremy Roach made his return when the Blue Devils needed him most. The captain's absence during the loss to Clemson was evident, but his return created an even larger impact. Duke has dealt with a variety of injuries and illnesses this season that prove Roach’s return is critical to the squad's harmony and success. The junior's first points of the game brought his team within one point early on. Roach played a total of 27 minutes and recorded 14 points, two steals and four assists.
Despite facing many double teams high above the arc, Roach found a way to keep the game at his speed. The Leesburg, Va., native's composure with the ball brought back a collectedness to his team. Two notable plays from Roach included an acrobatic layup through the paint and a perfect lob to Dereck Lively II for an alley-oop slam dunk. The return of Duke’s starting point guard, and team leader, proved essential against the Hurricanes.
As shown below, freshman Kyle Filipowski was not far behind Roach in being voted player of the game. Filipowski’s skill set was fully displayed against Miami as he muscled through the paint and took shots beyond the arc. Duke’s depth is without a doubt a weapon to be utilized.
One word: Finish
Last week against Clemson, Jon Scheyer’s squad was unable to close out the matchup despite having a lead at halftime and at the second-half 7-minute mark. The Blue Devils ended up falling to the ACC foe at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.
Saturday night's matchup told a different story. Duke’s young team finished what it started, pulling out another win at home to maintain its undefeated record in Durham.
Five-time ACC Rookie of the Week Filipowski closed out his ninth double-double of the season, recording 14 rebounds and 17 points against the Hurricanes. While going 6-of-8 from the charity stripe, the freshman center came in clutch in the final 18 seconds of play, draining 2-of-2 to give Duke a 68-66 lead and finish the game.
While the Blue Devils were able to finish offensively, the Hurricanes struggled at the hands of the Duke defense, namely Lively, who had five of Duke’s eight blocks. On the offensive end, Duke’s best finish of the night was certainly Dariq Whitehead's heave from the half-court logo as the shot clock wound down early in the second half to give his team a 48-47 lead.
One stat: 19 assists
Duke displayed its unselfish play in Saturday’s matchup, sharing the wealth among nearly every player that recorded minutes against Miami. The Blue Devil offense was in full motion, starting off hot and becoming the key to the victory, as opposed to Duke's usual defensive prowess being the game changer. Seven Blue Devils helped tally a total 19 assists throughout the game, resulting in points from eight of the nine Duke players that touched the court. Graduate student Jacob Grandison led the way with six assists. The young team found their rhythm in sharing the ball and connecting with each other and ultimately put Duke back in the win column.
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