And one: Filipowski-led Duke men's basketball clears Miami in ACC tournament semifinal victory

Kyle Filipowski shoots overtop of two defenders in Friday's win against Miami.
Kyle Filipowski shoots overtop of two defenders in Friday's win against Miami.

After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more.The fourth-seed Blue Devils continued their winning ways in the ACC tournament semifinals, taking down No. 1-seed Miami Friday night. The Blue Zone breaks down the game: 

One player: Kyle Filipowski

Turns out, the ankle is just fine. Just like he did after his apparent injury in Thursday’s quarterfinals, Kyle Filipowski turned in another highly efficient performance en route to a Duke victory. Every time the Blue Devils needed a basket, he answered the bell, using his size and strength to impose his will at the rim. The freshman was 8-of-9 from the field to the tune of 17 points, buckets that were needed in a heavyweight bout against the Hurricanes. Filipowski also once again displayed his rebounding prowess, pulling down 11 boards for his 15th double-double. When Miami began to press full court, the Westtown, N.Y., native was strong and alert with the ball in his hands, allowing him to break the defense and rack up five assists. However, a talented Hurricane team did not make it easy for the big man, forcing him into three turnovers and drawing four fouls at his expense. 

Filipowski has been spectacular so far in Greensboro, N.C., putting up 39 points through the two contests on a combined 16-of-19 shooting. In addition, the center has knocked down five threes, forcing defenses to respect him at every spot on the floor. Duke will likely continue to rely on the ACC Rookie of the Year in Saturday’s championship matchup, hoping he can turn in another impressive offensive performance. 

One stat: 36-24 rebound advantage

One of the Blue Devils’ strengths all season long has been their ability to pull down rebounds, as they average nearly 39 boards per game. This has allowed Duke to parlay some of its misses into second chances offensively, a huge advantage against the talented opponents in the Greensboro Coliseum. The Blue Devils once again flexed their muscle in this aspect against the Hurricanes, hauling in 36 rebounds. Miami only was able to corral 24, a total that likely was affected by an injury to Norchad Omier early in the contest. Omier averages 10.0 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes, a tally that is among the best in the country. However, he was only able to pull in one board before he went down with an ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game, and from then on Duke dominated the glass. Per usual, Filipowski led the way with 11 rebounds, but five other Blue Devils had at least three boards, an extremely well-balanced performance. Nine of Duke’s rebounds came on the offensive end, allowing the Blue Devils to cash in 12 second-chance points as opposed to Miami’s four. Duke will lean on its rebounding as a major key to a possible ACC title. 

One word: Fearless

In the Blue Devils’ last matchup against the Hurricanes, they were absolutely drubbed in Coral Gables, Fla., falling 81-59. Duke was able to use that game as a turning point in its season, winning now eight of its next nine contests. After smashing Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals, the Blue Devils found themselves with a chance to redeem their loss to the top-seed Hurricanes in the semifinals. This time, Duke came on top, gutting out a 85-78 victory to advance to the conference championship game. The contest absolutely lived up to the billing, with the two talented offenses exchanging buckets up and down the floor, largely leaning on their superstars to prop them up. 

Isaiah Wong, the ACC Player of the Year, gave the Blue Devil defense fits, putting up 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Miami shot 46.8% from the floor, with Jordan Miller and Nijel Pack chipping in 17 and 11 points, respectively, to aid the Hurricane attack. However, Duke’s offense did not miss a beat after its 96-point outburst in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils shot 54.9% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc Friday night, outpacing the top scoring offense in the ACC. The game was physical throughout, and Miami was able to outmuscle Duke at times, forcing the Blue Devils to commit 12 turnovers. When Duke started pulling away, Hurricane head coach Jim Larrañaga turned to the full-court press as an attempt to slow down the Blue Devils, but guards Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach were able to masterfully handle the pressure, breaking the press and converting easy buckets. Duke also excelled at the charity stripe, going 21-for-25 from the free throw line, a number that exemplifies the kind of winning basketball head coach Jon Scheyer has his team playing as of late. The Blue Devils now advance to the ACC championship game where they await a rematch against No. 2-seed Virginia with a chance to hoist the conference trophy in Scheyer’s first season and further build their resume ahead of Selection Sunday. 


Share and discuss “And one: Filipowski-led Duke men's basketball clears Miami in ACC tournament semifinal victory” on social media.