HELLRAISERS: Filipowski injured in court-storming after No. 8 Duke men's basketball drops rematch at Wake Forest

Kyle Filipowski muscles for a rebound against two Wake Forest defenders.
Kyle Filipowski muscles for a rebound against two Wake Forest defenders.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — For just the second time this season, Duke found itself as the underdog Saturday — and perhaps for good reason. Host Wake Forest gave the eighth-ranked Blue Devils a run for their money in Cameron Indoor Stadium not two weeks ago and entered the rematch a perfect 14-0 on its home floor this season.

In a battle that featured 14 lead changes and seven ties, No. 8 Duke fell 83-79 to the Demon Deacons in front of a sellout crowd Saturday afternoon at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The loss snaps what was previously a five-game winning streak for the Blue Devils and topples the squad from the top spot in the ACC standings with just four games to play in the regular season. For Wake Forest, the marquee win means new life in the pursuit of an NCAA tournament berth.

In the end, the events of the game were all overshadowed by an apparent injury to Duke sophomore Kyle Filipowski as Wake Forest fans stormed the court.

“I'm more concerned about the well-being of our guys,” Duke head coach Jon Scheyer said after the game. “Flip sprains his ankle? When are we going to ban court-storming? When are we going to ban that? How many times does a player have to get into something where they get punched, or they get pushed, or they get taunted right in their face? And it's a dangerous thing."

Facing a four-point deficit with under four minutes to go, freshman guard Jared McCain got Duke (21-6, 12-4 in the ACC) back within striking distance by calmly hitting a 3-pointer out of the final media timeout. For a moment, it seemed as if the Blue Devils — after playing catch-up for much of the second half — might escape the final leg of a grueling three-game road trip with a win.

It was not to be. Despite a late 3-pointer by Filipowski to trim Duke’s deficit to 81-79, Wake Forest (18-9, 10-6) held on to win after Tyrese Proctor’s turnover with three seconds to play. Junior guard Hunter Sallis sealed the deal for the Demon Deacons at the free-throw line, giving the sellout crowd every reason it needed to storm the floor moments later.

As the buzzer sounded and fans emptied onto the court, Filipowski appeared to be hit by the frenzy. He had to be shielded from the rush by his teammates and helped off the floor.

Filipowski, with his right knee wrapped in ice, spoke to reporters after the game about the incident.

"It was my knee,” Filipowski said. “... I felt a bunch of hits on my body, this one was the worst. Like I said, it's just really ridiculous of how that situation was handled."

"I absolutely felt like it was personal. Intentional for sure. There's no reason where they see a big guy like me trying to work my way up the court and they can't just work around me,” he added. “There's no excuse for that."

Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes also shared his view of the court-storming after the game.

“I didn’t see what happened at the end,” Forbes said. “I hope [Filipowski] is okay. I don’t like court-stormings, I never have. I've been a part of those before. They just don’t feel safe.”

Both Scheyer and Filipowski made reference to a similar incident involving Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark and voiced their support of the possibility of the ACC banning court-stormings altogether.

“I think I read that the SEC banned it and that the home team has to pay a large fine if it happens,” Filipowski said. “So I’m all on board with that. There’s no court-storming in Cameron, that’s for sure. And that’s the type of environment it’s going to be like for us in every game we play.”

On the court, Sallis was the star of the show Saturday afternoon, leading both teams in scoring with 29 points and shooting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Down two points at halftime, Sallis — a Gonzaga transfer and the ACC’s fourth-leading scorer at 18.3 points per game — hit three 3-pointers almost immediately out of the locker room to seize a 51-46 lead for the Demon Deacons and ignite the raucous crowd in attendance.

In need of an answer, the Blue Devils got one from Proctor. The sophomore guard, in his second game back from concussion protocol, promptly hit successive threes to knot the score at 53-53 and set the stage for the dramatic final sequence in Winston-Salem. Neither team held a two-possession lead in the final 10 minutes until Wake Forest’s Cameron Hildreth broke the ice, nailing a corner 3-pointer to grant his team a 73-69 lead with 4:10 on the clock.

“Hats off to Wake Forest,” Scheyer said. “They’re a really good team and I don’t think they’re respected — just like I said after the first time, they’re not respected the way they should be nationally … they’re top-25, no matter how you slice it metric-wise.”

After a slow opening sequence for both sides, the backcourts came alive from 3-point range. With senior guard Jeremy Roach on the bench after quickly picking up two personal fouls, back-to-back triples by Caleb Foster and Proctor gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the afternoon at 10-9. 

McCain connected shortly after to expand the advantage, but the Demon Deacons answered, retaking the lead with 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions by Kevin Miller and Sallis. That duo combined for 25 points in the first half alone, with the junior Sallis accounting for 14 of his game-high total before the break.

Duke, at the tail end of an evenly matched first half, managed to win the final minutes — a point of emphasis for head coach Jon Scheyer in recent weeks — to take a narrow 38-36 lead into the locker room. The Blue Devils also led by two points, 29-27, at halftime of their 77-69 Feb. 12 home win against the Demon Deacons.

Sallis and Miller led the way for Wake Forest, but the home side also got a boost from Hildreth and senior forward Andrew Carr. The duo helped the Demon Deacons to keep pace in a break-neck second half and finished with 12 and 18 points, respectively.

“No,” Scheyer said when asked if he had any doubt that Wake Forest — which entered Saturday as the Last Team In according to ESPN’s Bracketology — belongs in the NCAA tournament. “… You’re going to tell me if we won by two, if we bang in a three to win, all of a sudden they’re not a tournament team? I think we need to have some common sense.”

For the Blue Devils, it was a rough afternoon for Ryan Young off the bench. The graduate center and staple of Scheyer’s rotation fouled out with 6:05 to go after playing 11 minutes.

Overall, it was a balanced effort for Duke. Each of Roach (16), Proctor (14), McCain (15) and Kyle Filipowski (17) scored in double digits. Filipowski also led the team with eight rebounds and five assists in the losing effort.

Saturday’s sellout crowd was Wake Forest’s first at the venue since January 2017. That contest resulted in an 85-83 Duke victory thanks to a last-gasp 3-pointer by Luke Kennard.

After three games on the road, the Blue Devils return home Wednesday to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a 7 p.m. matchup against Louisville. Duke took the first matchup against the Cardinals 83-69 at the KFC Yum! Center, with Proctor’s 24 bench points leading the way.

“It’s dangerous,” Scheyer said. “In what other sport does that happen?”

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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