After each Duke men’s basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils dominated La Salle Tuesday night in a 95-66 victory, and the Blue Zone breaks down the matchup:
One player: Tyrese Proctor
Tyrese Proctor posted a career night against La Salle, scoring a personal-best 22 points in Duke’s dominant victory. The sophomore guard hit a turnaround jumper for the first Blue Devil field goal of the game and never looked back, scoring from all three levels throughout the contest. He went 7-of-11 from the field while making two of his three 3-point attempts. Proctor also converted all six of his chances from the line and added an impressive seven rebounds and four assists.
There was more than a five-minute stretch in the first half where Proctor was Duke’s only scorer. With just under ten minutes to go in the period, the Sydney native drove just inside the free-throw line, pulled up and knocked down a jump shot. He followed it up with back-to-back threes and a driving layup. These 10 consecutive points kept the Blue Devils afloat as the rest of the offense struggled to find its footing.
It was well known entering the season that Proctor would be a vital piece on this year’s squad, but his performance against the Explorers showed why he can be a true superstar rather than just a steady hand in the backcourt. If the sophomore can continue to finish at the rim, create open midrange looks and cash in from beyond the arc, he can elevate Duke to an unforeseen level.
One word: Potential
On a night where Proctor and fellow star sophomore Kyle Filipowski combined for 39 points, many Blue Devil fans will place their focus further down the statsheet. There they will find a pair of freshman forwards who posted their most promising performances in a Duke uniform to date in Sean Stewart and TJ Power.
Stewart surpassed his previous career high of six by a healthy margin, logging a 16-point double-double in just 17 minutes on the floor. The 6-foot-9 freshman is extremely athletic and could be a valuable asset for head coach Jon Scheyer if he continues to settle into basketball at the collegiate level.
Power, on the other hand, had played just 19 minutes and had yet to make a field goal this season entering the matchup with La Salle. The five-star freshman checked into Tuesday’s game late as the Blue Devils had all but wrapped up their fourth win, and he quickly impressed. Power ripped off three straight 3-point makes, finishing with nine points in just six minutes. The Worcester Academy product is not currently in Duke’s rotation, but if he continues to showcase an ability to knock down the deep ball, it will be difficult for Scheyer to keep him on the bench.
One stat: 59 second-half points
The Blue Devils struggled to pull away from the Explorers in what was a relatively sloppy first half. Duke was able to use its size advantage to score inside and attack the glass, but it only led by 10 points at the break. However, the Blue Devils were able to truly pull away and cruise to victory in the second 20 minutes, scoring a remarkable 56 points.
Filipowski scored 14 of his 17 points after the break, and Duke converted seven of its nine threes. Additionally, the Blue Devils only turned the ball over once in the second half and just five times total in the game — their best mark since the 2021-22 season. Duke will look to continue to dominate down the stretch of games as it moves into the latter portion of its non-conference schedule.
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