5 observations from Duke men's basketball's first half against Notre Dame

Jeremy Roach in the first half of Duke's win against Notre Dame.
Jeremy Roach in the first half of Duke's win against Notre Dame.

Back in Cameron Indoor Stadium for its first home matchup in 10 days, Duke took the lead midway through the first 20 minutes of Thursday’s contest against Notre Dame and so far, has not looked back. One half remains in Durham, where the Blue Devils lead 31-23.

Coach K on Coach K Court

Former Duke head coach of 42 years Mike Krzyzewski returned to Cameron Indoor for Thursday’s game, his first time back for a game since retiring after the 2021-22 season. Cheers and more than a dozen cameras followed the Hall of Fame coach as he and his wife, Mickie, took their seats at the end of the baseline on Coach K Court ahead of tipoff. With 3:57 left in the first half, the announcers and crowd honored the Krzyzewskis with cheers and applause.

Off the bat

The Blue Devils won the opening tipoff with a dominating push from freshman center Dereck Lively II, allowing them to quickly get the ball down to the basket for star freshman Kyle Filipowski to open the scoring with a layup. Filipowski, who went 0-of-6 from the field in Saturday’s loss at Virginia, also made the team’s second jumper off an assist from junior captain Jeremy Roach. Despite Duke scoring first, Notre Dame quickly retaliated, holding onto the lead for 4:36 in the half until the Blue Devils stole it away with 9:38 to play.

Creating plays

Despite Notre Dame closing off the arc to protect the interior, the Blue Devils had no problem getting around the challenge. Forced to work from the outside, playmaker and junior point guard Jeremy Roach consistently looked to his teammates beyond the arc for the 3-point shot. As a result, the Blue Devils took 10 3-point attempts but made just three.

In the paint

Though the Fighting Irish came into Cameron Indoor as one of only two teams in the ACC yet to win on another team’s home court, they certainly put up a battle in the Blue Devils’ first home game since their Feb. 4 win against North Carolina. Duke finally found a rhythm late against Notre Dame’s defense, scoring 18 points in the paint compared to just 10 for the Fighting Irish.

Player of the half: Kyle Filipowski

Filipowski sprained his ankle on the controversial final play of regulation against Virginia and was uncertain to play against Notre Dame, but the team announced Thursday afternoon that the 7-foot freshman would be active. After starting the game, Filipowski played 14 minutes in the first half and was a challenge for the Fighting Irish on both sides of the ball. 

On defense, Filipowski had no problem staying with his man. On offense, Filipowski’s screening allowed the team to set plays into motion and get through into the paint. With a team-high 10 points by the final buzzer, the seven-time ACC Rookie of the Week has had no problem making his own plays, as well.


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