Sportswrap: Football claims Birmingham Bowl title, men's basketball downs Baylor in New York

Duke players celebrate their Birmingham Bowl win against Troy.
Duke players celebrate their Birmingham Bowl win against Troy.

Sportswrap is your one-stop shop for everything Duke athletics, where we’ll recap how each of Duke’s sports currently in competition performed over the last week and give a brief look ahead. Here’s our recap for the week of Dec. 18-23:


The 2023 season ended on a positive note for Duke as it defeated Troy 17-10 in the Birmingham Bowl Saturday afternoon. Interim head coach Trooper Taylor led the Blue Devils (8-5, 4-4 in the ACC) to victory behind an impressive defensive performance. Duke forced three fourth-down stops and a crucial interception by graduate safety Jeremiah Lewis sealed the game. Sophomore defensive back Chandler Rivers won the Birmingham Bowl MVP after recording three pass breakups and two tackles for loss. Freshman quarterback Grayson Loftis performed admirably, throwing for 183 yards and managing the game well. The Blue Devils’ lone touchdown was scored by graduate running back Jaylen Coleman in his last game in a Duke uniform. The team now turns the page to the Manny Diaz era, as he continues to round out his staff and finalize the roster — headlined by incoming Texas quarterback Maalik Murphy, who announced his commitment Friday. -Ranjan Jindal

Men’s basketball

On a chilly Wednesday night in New York, the 21st-ranked Blue Devils got the job done 78-70 against No. 10 Baylor at Madison Square Garden for a marquee nonconference win in front of a loaded and loud support section fitting of the moniker “Cameron North.” Freshman guard Jared McCain was the standout player for Duke (8-3, 0-1), shooting an effective 7-for-11 from the floor and 3-of-6 from three, including the dagger late in the fourth quarter off a feed from Ryan Young. With the win, the Blue Devils close the door on the toughest chapter of their out-of-conference slate and now enjoy a brief respite for the holidays before returning to Cameron Indoor Stadium Dec. 30 for a clash with Queens. -Andrew Long

Women’s basketball

After a 10-day finals break, Duke recorded an impressive 25-point win against Toledo Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Senior center Kennedy Brown helped lead her team to victory with a career-high night in the contest, scoring 17 points and going 6-for-7 from the field. Freshman guard Jadyn Donovan also had a stellar night in the home win, scoring in the double digits for the third time this season. The Blue Devils (7-4, 0-1) will have another short break before coming back to Cameron Indoor to face off against Coppin State Dec. 28 before closing out 2023 in ACC play against Boston College Dec. 31. -Elle Chavis


Duke traveled to Charlotte Tuesday for a big doubleheader against The Citadel and Queens. The matchup yielded mixed results for the Blue Devils (4-5). On the one hand, the team scored only three individual victories against the Bulldogs, falling in the opening encounter by a score of 23-9. However, in the afternoon, Duke bounced back emphatically, trouncing the Royals in a dominant 47-0 victory. The Blue Devils were led by veterans Logan Agin, Gaetano Console and Connor Barket, each of whom won both of their duels in convincing fashion. Their performances against The Citadel helped keep Duke in contention, while their dominant outings against Queens laid the foundation for a convincing Blue Devil win, including a first for freshman Kwasi Bonsu. -Rodrigo Amare


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