No. 16 Duke men's basketball hits triple digits in commanding win against Queens to close 2023

Kyle Filipowski leaps over a Queens defender for a dunk.
Kyle Filipowski leaps over a Queens defender for a dunk.

The return of the 16th-ranked Blue Devils to Cameron Indoor Stadium after the festive season Saturday afternoon also marked the return of Tyrese Proctor from injury. And with its star point guard available once more, Duke closed off the year in style. 

It was a totally one-sided affair with Duke leading the entire game. The Blue Devils’ offense did not seem to have a single drop of rust from the holiday break, and came back home firing on all cylinders, roaring to a 106-69 win.

“Good game for us coming back from Christmas break, we want to really carry the momentum that we had before break,” said head coach Jon Scheyer. “Obviously there's always a lot of things you want to work on, but for us today we came up with a strong start.”

A dominant display from the Blue Devils (9-3, 0-1 in the ACC)) meant that they led the Royals 46-33 by halftime. Freshman guard Jared McCain was particularly impressive, scoring 17 points in the first frame from 10 attempts and 24 by the time he left midway through the second — a career-high in Duke blue. 

“I’m actually glad that to find my shots, the shots I worked on my whole life,” McCain said, “and one of main goals [for next year] is to win a National Championship.”

Sophomore center Kyle Filipowski announced himself by opening the second-half scoring for Duke as well, adding five points to his tally in just over a minute of play after the break. In a bit of comic relief, senior captain Jeremy Roach was fouled and his right shoe fell off, returning to the court amidst a thunderous applause. While Filipowski’s aggressive play caused Queens (6-9) problems, it did not help the Blue Devils when he was subbed off after grabbing his fourth foul of the day. This was especially so after his valiant, team-leading nine-point display after the break. 

A frenzy of plays soon ensued. McCain scored a three from the corner to bring his tally to 22, his best of the season so far. The newly subbed-on Young was fouled but calmly dispatched his free throws with ease, keeping his perfect percentage from the line intact. A fumble under Queens’ basket resulted in the ball being passed to an open Proctor, who made a perfect three from atop the arc. Shortly after, Jaylen Blakes ran down the entire court to score his first basket of the game, bringing Duke its largest lead of the game so far at 71-46.

Queens’ coach called a timeout. It was to no avail, however, as Power scored his first points of the game with a trademark three from the right corner. Following his teammate’s example, Filipowski dispatched a 3-pointer upon his return to the court. The Royals answered by letting Jacobi Sebock attempt the same trick from Duke’s corner, but he could not convert. McCain was then fouled and scored two more points to increase Duke’s advantage to 32. The freshman guard was substituted to make way for Proctor, met by a standing ovation from the Duke fans. 

The Blue Devils immediately put the Royals under pressure as soon as the game began. Roach opened the scoring with a calm layup after McCain missed a 3-point attempt off the opening-tip. The Blue Devils’ speedy play forced Queens into some early errors, such as passing straight into the hands of McCain for an easy three. Duke continued its nonstop offense, scoring 13 points straight before the Royals had an answer, and already led by 17 points after a mere four minutes of play.

Just seven minutes into the game, Scheyer brought on a quadruple substitution, introducing Jaylen Blakes, TJ Power, Ryan Young and Proctor, back from an ankle injury suffered in Duke’s loss to Georgia Tech. The sophomore guard was given a roaring cheer by the Cameron Indoor faithful as he stepped onto the court. But his impact was somewhat subdued initially, as the Australia native had a turnover, scored two points and then missed a free throw. By game’s end, though, he had nine points and four assists.

After a media timeout, Scheyer reintroduced some of the starters in Mark Mitchell and Filipowski. The combined strength of the starters put Queens under pressure once more, though the Royals put up a good fight by returning with a couple 3-pointers from Jaxon Pollard and Chris Ashby.

With 3:33 remaining in the opening period, freshman Sean Stewart was subbed on — his first minutes since Duke’s Dec. 12 win against Hofstra. He was immediately fouled and went to the free-throw line, where he missed one shot and made the other. Young’s re-entry into the game was more memorable, as he made two free throws and a crucial stop to prevent Queens from scoring on the counter. 

Despite a valiant performance from Queens’ Deyton Albury, who was the Royals’ best player with 23 points, a Caleb Foster dunk with 2:39 on the clock in the second half sealed their fate as Duke soared to break the 100-point barrier. In celebration of this achievement, walk-on Spencer Hubbard and transfer Neal Begovich were brought on to see out the closing minutes. Hubbard recorded the second assist of his career, passing to Power for a straightforward 3-pointer.

“I think it's given us a big confidence booster and shown what we're capable of,” Filipowski said.

The Blue Devils open 2024 at home against Syracuse Jan. 2 at 9 p.m.


Share and discuss “No. 16 Duke men's basketball hits triple digits in commanding win against Queens to close 2023” on social media.