5 observations from No. 8 Duke men's basketball's first half against Miami

Mark Mitchell slams the ball down during Duke's first half against Miami.
Mark Mitchell slams the ball down during Duke's first half against Miami.

CORAL GABLES, Fla.—No. 8 Duke stays on the road after its weekend win against Florida State, taking on Miami in South Florida Wednesday night. The Blue Devils have looked solid through 20 minutes, and lead the Hurricanes 40-23 heading into the locker room:

Tyrese Proctor back

After suffering a concussion against Wake Forest Feb. 12 and missing Duke’s contest against Florida State, the Aussie is back in action for the Blue Devils’ clash with the Hurricanes. Despite coming off the bench, the sophomore put in 11 quality minutes in the first half. The Sydney native shook off the rust nearly 10 minutes in as he easily drained a three off an assist from classmate Kyle Filipowski. Seconds later, showcasing his defensive prowess, he put in the work for a steal. Proctor went into the locker room with three points and four assists to his name in his first outing post-injury.

Selfless play

Duke shared the rock early on, putting up three assists within the first six minutes of play. Senior guard Jeremy Roach kicked things off by faking out the defender on the 3-point line before dishing the ball to a cutting Mark Mitchell, who leaped inside for the layup. The Kansas City, Kan., native was active seconds later, as freshman guard Caleb Foster found him inside for the dunk. The Blue Devils’ selfless play allowed them to go on a 6-0 run midway through the half. Duke was particularly generous with its sharing on the 3-point line as freshman guard Jared McCain and graduate center Ryan Young each assisted a Foster three. The Blue Devils went on to put up 11 assists before heading into the locker room, allowing it to gain a 17-point lead.

Defensive stringency

Duke was active on the defensive glass early, with sophomore center Kyle Filipowski getting two key defensive rebounds to prevent Miami’s second-chance opportunities. The team’s defensive prowess started to heat up from there as the Blue Devils forced a Hurricane shot-clock violation out of the first media timeout. This kickstarted a Miami scoring drought as the home team went 0-of-5 over a nearly three-minute stretch. However, the Hurricanes were not to be denied as they went on a hot streak soon after, going 3-for-3 midway through the half. It was no matter for Duke, who went on a 13-0 run of its own while forcing Miami into another five-minute dry spell. The Blue Devils forced the Hurricanes to go 0-for-8 in a four-minute span as the half wound down, allowing Duke to put up eight points and pull further away. The team’s defensive effort was highlighted by their three steals while forcing Miami to cough up six turnovers.

Filipowski getting back into form

After struggling to find his groove again in the past few contests, Filipowski showed glimpses of his old self throughout the first half. At the 12:28 mark, the Westtown, N.Y., native knocked down a three off a Proctor assist to get the away crowd on their feet. He showed another flash of brilliance minutes later as he spun away from a double team to rise up for the one-handed reverse dunk. Ending the half with five points, Filipowski looks to be working his way back into form.

Player of the half: Mark Mitchell

Scoring seven of the first 10 Blue Devil points, the sophomore forward got things started for Duke early. Kicking things off with a second-chance free throw, Mitchell went on to make four of his six attempts from the charity stripe to give the Blue Devils the edge. His driving layup and dunk contributed to his 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Beyond scoring, Mitchell was active on the offensive glass as well, garnering four rebounds to get Duke some crucial second-chance points. Even without being the Blue Devils’ leading scorer of the half, he continued to cause defensive problems for the Hurricanes as they struggled to get any offensive rhythm.

Mackenzie Sheehy profile
Mackenzie Sheehy | Blue Zone editor

Mackenzie Sheehy is a Trinity sophomore and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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