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And one: Sharpshooting Virginia Tech narrowly overpowers Filipowski-led Duke men's basketball

Kyle Filipowski powers to the rim against Virginia Tech.
Kyle Filipowski powers to the rim against Virginia Tech.

After each Duke men’s basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils dropped a close game on the road against Virginia Tech, and the Blue Zone breaks down the game:

One player: Kyle Filipowski

In a disappointing loss for the Blue Devils, Kyle Filipowski still put together a fantastic performance. Duke’s star center put up his 10th double-double of the season, scoring a season-high 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while committing just one turnover. For good measure, Filipowski filled out the rest of the stat sheet Monday night, garnering two assists, two steals and a block.

For the fourth straight game, the freshman led Duke in points while accounting for four of the team’s nine made 3-pointers. With forward Dariq Whitehead possibly missing time due to a leg injury suffered in the second half and the team’s general inconsistency on the road, Filipowski will need to use this performance to help the Blue Devils win in the last third of their season.


One word: Shooting

The Blue Devils have been inconsistent all year in terms of making buckets, but even one of their better shooting days was no match for an incredible effort by the Hokies. When factoring in 3-point attempts, Duke averaged 1.1 points per shot from the field, a respectable mark. However, Virginia Tech’s 10 threes bumped its average in this mark to just more than 1.3 points per shot, allowing it to squeak by the Blue Devils. Indeed, Duke gave up shot after shot to Virginia Tech, allowing the Hokies to make 57.1% of their shots and a stunning 52.6% of their 3-point attempts. 

Two Hokies in particular—forward Grant Basile and guard Hunter Cattoor—proved troubling for the Blue Devils in their close loss. In the first half, Cattoor hit four treys, including three in a two-and-a-half-minute span, allowing the Hokies to wrestle away an early lead by Duke. The second half was dominated by Basile, who went 7-of-11 on field goals and sank three free throws to keep pace with a momentum change in favor of Duke. Overall, Basile was 10-of-15 on field goal attempts and led the Hokies with 24 points. Cattoor had a quieter second half than Basile, but still hit a 3-pointer with 6:48 left to give Virginia Tech the lead for good. 

One stat: 17-7 assist-to-turnover ratio

In general, the assist-to-turnover ratio dictates better ball control for the team in question. In Monday night’s loss, the Blue Devils had a strong 17-to-7 mark in this category, allowing for better ball movement and possession. However, splitting the active roster by position reveals a tale of two teams. On one end, Duke’s guards secured 11 assists and committed just one turnover, while on the other, the rest of the team had a poor 6-to-6 ratio. While this doesn’t tell the full picture of how Duke’s frontcourt played—after all, guards are generally the best passers and ball-movers—it still points to who the team should rely on to initiate offense going forward.

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