Filipowski's dominant day propels No. 21 Duke men's basketball past Hofstra for second-consecutive home win

Kyle Filipowski shoots a three during Duke's win against Hofstra.
Kyle Filipowski shoots a three during Duke's win against Hofstra.

With finals approaching and a tough test in Hofstra storming into town, the Blue Devils aced their game Tuesday night.

A battle of 3-point shooting had Duke fans uneasy early on, but a late first-half run propelled the 21st-ranked Blue Devils into a dominant second half and a 89-68 win in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Sophomore center Kyle Filipowski dominated throughout the game, putting up a season-high 28 points and a career-high eight assists while falling just short of his first-career triple-double. He ran the Duke offense all night while the Blue Devils stormed out to a big lead, allowing freshman Jared McCain, sophomore Mark Mitchell and senior Jeremy Roach to reach double-figures.

"I just like the response from our team. I thought we had great leadership tonight," head coach Jon Scheyer said.

Duke’s second half started exactly how Scheyer needed it to, especially given the Blue Devils’ timely close to the first which saw them turn a five-point deficit into an equal-sized lead. Back-to-back buckets from Blue Devil guards Roach and McCain put Duke (7-3, 0-1 in the ACC) ahead 49-41 before Filipowski added a three of his own to give Duke its largest lead up to that point. Duke only had to continue to tame Hofstra’s red-hot backcourt duo of Tyler Thomas and Darlinstone Dubar. 

Filipowski, who had 17 points at the break, was impressive throughout the whole game with his high scoring output and again paced the team in rebounds. His premier all-around night was arguably the biggest individual contribution in a Duke win this season, a big step in the right direction after a 2-for-10 showing in his last outing against Charlotte.

He was "a force," according to Scheyer.

"Coach puts me in great positions with the ball on offense and it gives me the freedom to make reads and facilitate how I see best fit for the team," Filipowski said. 

He also acknowledged his seven turnovers, as did his teammates, whom Filipowski said humbled him.

Despite a rough stretch finding shots after the initial burst at the start of the half, Duke held Hofstra even colder from the field. Roach turned a steal into a 3-pointer on the other end to put Duke up 62-48 near the 12-minute mark, and the Blue Devil defense continued to keep a lid on the opposite basket for a four-minute-37-second-long field-goal drought.

The Blue Devils were not yet out of the woods, though, as Duke could not capitalize on the momentum brought by the big Roach bucket. Hofstra (6-4) went on a 7-0 run as Duke could not connect from the floor, but Jaylen Blakes converted on a fast-break and then pressured the Pride into another turnover. Filipowski hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night on the ensuing possession with the energy fully turned in favor of the Blue Devils and a 71-55 lead on the scoreboard.

Duke went on a 19-4 run en route to an eventual 26-point lead and closed the game out having been ahead by more than 20 for the final several minutes.

Hofstra had brought to Durham similar offensive and defensive scoring numbers as Duke, as the Pride averaged over 80 points per contest coming in, bolstered by the graduate student Thomas, who is one of the most prolific scorers of this season. While the Blue Devils looked to keep the ball out of Thomas’s hands, his teammate Dubar made five first-half threes and two more in the second as the defense collapsed onto the Pride’s star. 

"It was a big priority to run them off the 3-point line," Filipowski said. "And we did a pretty good job with with Thomas but Dubar just had one those nights."

Filipowski piloted the Blue Devil attack from the jump by dishing out smart passes and taking it himself to the bucket after receiving the rock from his teammates — he scored 12 of the first 26 points for Duke and was key to keeping the Blue Devils ahead by a razor-thin margin for most of the early going. The ball movement was also considerably improved from its back-to-back losses against Arkansas and Georgia Tech, with the Blue Devils recording 22 assists on 33 made baskets.  

"Our guys, they're smart players, they adjusted on the fly," Scheyer said about the improved passing and sense of togetherness. "And I think they're gaining confidence with who we have to be, together, in order to win"

Roach and McCain chipped in with solid supporting contributions when Duke needed them, with the former using his slashing ability and the latter a smooth jumper from near or behind the 3-point line. 

But neither team could go on the run they needed to break it open until much later in the game, although Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton was surely pleased with his team’s ability to take it to the Blue Devils until the final minute of the first half. For Duke, it looked more like damage control, and while the Blue Devils were not shooting it poorly or losing possession, the Pride deep ball was a momentum killer time and time again. 

Hofstra’s Jaquan Carlos collected nine assists, including the passes which led to a quick 6-0 Pride spurt on a pair of threes from Dubar and Thomas around the four-minute mark in the first half. The quick run took the air out of Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the Pride briefly held a 37-32 lead, but Filipowski cut into the lead with back-to-back and-ones to tie it at 37, easing the nerves of some in Duke’s home arena. A Caleb Foster 3-pointer from the right wing with 34 seconds left in the half to put the Blue Devils up by five and on a 12-2 run perhaps gave the reins back to Duke for the rest of the night.

The Blue Devils return to action next Wednesday with a primetime matchup against No. 6 Baylor at Madison Square Garden.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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