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ROUTED IN RALEIGH: Duke men's basketball trounced on the road at N.C. State

Jeremy Roach puts up a shot during the first half of Duke's lopsided loss at N.C. State.
Jeremy Roach puts up a shot during the first half of Duke's lopsided loss at N.C. State.

The road has not been the Blue Devils’ friend so far this season.

No. 16 Duke lost to N.C. State 84-60 Wednesday night in PNC Arena. The margin was the Blue Devils’ greatest of the season and their third double-digit loss. Star sophomore Terquavion Smith led the charge, dropping 24 points, with Jarkel Joiner tallying 21 himself in the Wolfpack’s explosive day. The defeat is Duke’s second on the road this season after it was taken down by Wake Forest Dec 20. 

"They've been right there with some of the best teams in the country, and a lot of respect for them," said head coach Jon Scheyer. "But that was not good enough performance or effort on our part."

With 25 seconds to play in the first half, N.C. State had possession. Duke (11-4, 2-2 in the ACC) fouled three times, pushing itself to the brink of the team limit and leaving sophomore guard Jaylen Blakes with three fouls to his name. The Blue Devils’ attempts to force an N.C. State mistake, however, were moot. Joiner sank a 3-pointer for the Wolfpack (12-4, 2-3) to end the period 44-22. Duke’s efforts and its fouls were wasted. 

In the first half, the Blue Devils were plagued by offensive miscues and defensive breakdowns. Duke simply could not keep up with N.C. State’s pace. It was outplayed in nearly every facet of the game, only shooting 29.2% from the floor and being blocked eight times. However, its biggest downfall was its inability to hold on to the ball. 

In the first half alone, the Blue Devils committed 13 turnovers. Eight of the nine players who saw the court contributed to that total, with only graduate transfer Jacob Grandison emerging unscathed. Turnovers have been an issue for Duke this season, but its previous season-high in a game was 19, a number it surpassed Wednesday with 21 total. It did clean up its game in the second half, but by then the majority of the damage was done.

"They outplayed us, really in every facet," said Scheyer. 

The contest got off to a slow start. Neither team scored for more than three minutes, with the Blue Devils unable to cash in until 12:20. Duke started with 13 straight missed shots from the field while turning the ball over three times in the first four minutes. Even after bringing in multiple bench players, a move that has helped the Blue Devils spark their offense multiple times this season, Duke found itself down 15-0. 

There was no flipped switch. Duke did not suddenly turn up its intensity and go on a scoring run, cutting into its deficit and establishing itself as the pregame favorite it was. Its efforts to claw back into the game were slow but consistent—and led by the big men.  

Seven-foot freshman Kyle Filipowski, after his stellar first four weeks, surged in the second half. After only scoring once in the first period, the freshman put the team on his back yet again. He grabbed six of Duke’s first 10 points on his way to his 14-point total while grabbing eight rebounds. 

Ryan Young was the first Blue Devil to eclipse double digits as he had his second-straight solid performance before fouling out with just more than four minutes to play. The graduate transfer ended the night with 11 points and three rebounds, but did contribute to Duke’s turnover troubles. Young traveled multiple times in the paint, ending promising Blue Devil possessions when the team needed them most. 

Freshman Mark Mitchell was the one who finally broke the spell in the first half, notching Duke’s first points of the game. After missing both of his free throw attempts after an Ernest Ross foul, the forward redeemed himself, grabbing the rebound after Filipowski’s missed shot, remaining in bounds and finishing at the rim himself. Mitchell tallied six points and six rebounds but also committed two turnovers. Dariq Whitehead got hot in the second half, sinking four 3-pointers overall for 12 points. 

Filipowski, Young, Whitehead and Mitchell’s efforts alone were not enough. Duke’s backcourt struggled on both ends of the court, with junior captain Jeremy Roach and Blakes combining for only six points. The Blue Devils also struggled to guard the perimeter—Smith and Joiner made four and five threes, respectively. N.C. State shot 38% from beyond the arc, only exacerbating Duke’s offensive struggles. 

“It's not about going into panic mode or anything other than trying to figure out how to win the next possession,” said Scheyer. “...For me, that's where my mind goes, is how can you win.”

Duke will remain on the road, traveling to Boston College Saturday to take on the Eagles at 1 p.m.


Rachael Kaplan | Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.

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