The Blue Devils returned to their home court after a bizarre end to the Virginia game but with a clear mission. Win. Notre Dame, a team full of grad students, was never going to be a walk in the park. Certainly just looking at Notre Dame’s record one would think that Duke should run away with the game but Duke is one of, if not the youngest team in the ACC – Notre Dame one of the oldest. The Irish were not going to get rattled by Cameron Indoor.
Neither team set the world on fire offensively but the Blue Devils got just enough from Kyle Filipowski who was looking to make amends for his 0pt performance at UVA. Filipowski would pace the Devils, scoring 22 points on 9-16 shooting. The Irish used 6 points each from Dane Goodwin and Marcus Hammond to keep the game within reach at the half where Duke left with a 31-23 lead.
Duke began the second half with 4 straight points from Filipowski and eventually opened up a 14 point lead but another scoring drought and an Irish team who showed up much more willing to scrap for 50-50 balls quickly saw Duke’s lead dissipate. The Irish used a 10-2 scoring run to narrow Duke’s deficit to single-digits, 44-38. That led to a Blue Devils’ timeout at the 12:28 mark. Out of the timeout, Duke’s defense held Notre Dame to just four points over the next five minutes and Duke would once again push the lead to double figures at the under-eight media timeout.
Notre Dame narrowed Duke’s lead to just two, 62-60, on a three-pointer with 1:27 remaining in the game. After a free throw from Roach followed by a layup by the Fighting Irish, Mark Mitchell drilled his second three-pointer of the half with 11.0 seconds on the clock to make it a four-point game, 66-62. Two free throws by Tyrese Proctor iced the 68-64 win.
Filipowski was the only Blue Devil to score in double-figures with 22. Jacob Grandson and Tyrese Proctor added 4 assists each in the win and Jeremy Roach added 9 points including a critical offensive board and put back as Notre Dame was closing in on Duke’s lead in the second half.
The Blue Devils played a much better floor game only turning the ball over 8 times versus the 22 they gave away against Virginia. The Blue Devils also out-rebounded the Irish 37-34. Duke was able to limit the Irish to just 3 points off of their turnovers while the Blue Devils were able to score 10 off of Notre Dame’s.
DUKE HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
“It was a great win coming off being on the road last week. For me, it’s an honor to coach against Mike Brey, for what he’s done at Duke, first and foremost. In this back hallway, you have to go to a Final Four to get your team picture up. Going through the hallway and earlier today, there he is, there he is, again, there he is. He went to six Final Fours in eight years here as an assistant coach. Pretty good years that he was here: two national championships. For me, it was an honor and knowing Notre Dame and what they’re all about, we felt it was going be a very dangerous game today: the way they can shoot threes. I thought our defense was really good overall. I’m just proud of, each one of our guys. I thought at different points they all stepped up. Flip [Kyle Filipowski], coming off of a really tough game at Virginia to bounce back the way that he did, to carry the load throughout was huge. I thought Jeremy [Roach] had an offensive rebound when it went got tight, he got back in and scored, and that was a big play. For Mark Mitchell, I don’t think Mark has played his best as of late, and every day he gets 100 corner threes in and he works religiously on shooting before and after practice. Our coaches do a great job with him. So, to come back in late, they plug off of him in the corner, Jeremy kicks it to him. That is a big-time shot and that’s not the first time he has made a shot like that so really proud of him for sticking with it and making that play. Then Tyrese [Proctor] at the end, two free throws. I don’t even know if it hit the rim, went right through the net. So, proud to get this win. There is a lot to learn from, but happy to beat a good Notre Dame team who is really dangerous and capable of beating anybody.”
On the impact of Coach K being at the game:
“Yeah, it was awesome having him. One, we have talked about it [Coach K coming back] even in the preseason. ‘When are you going to a game? We want you at a game.’ For him to be here tonight, especially for me, I’ve been in so many battles and games here with him, with him right next to me. I don’t know how he felt sitting over there instead of on the bench, but it just means a lot. His support has been incredible, throughout this whole year, and throughout this whole process. I just wanted to make sure we got the win while he was here. It was really special for me to have him and Mickie [Krzyzewski] as well. That was a really cool thing for me, the team, and our staff.”
On the Kyle Filipowski overcoming mental and physical hurdles:
“He handled it great. I think that the toughest part: he didn’t even practice these last two days. He could hardly walk on Sunday; yesterday, it was better, where he could do some light jogging, and spot shooting, but he couldn’t even go contact or five-on-five. So, to come out, he just looked great to start the game. He’s such a difference maker for us, the attention that he gets. He’s resilient. He’s been a guy since day one of this summer, it has not been smooth sailing. He has had his ups and downs, and he’s taken coaching every step of the way. He continues to work and he just wants to win. I thought you saw that tonight and really they had to change their defense because of him.”
On the coaching decisions behind Mark Mitchell’s three to put Duke up by four with under 15 seconds left:
“I felt confident. I had a timeout there and could have called it, but I just felt confident Jeremy was making the right play down the stretch, [because of] the work that Mark has put in. I think it was the Florida State game and Notre Dame played earlier this year with the same situation and they played it out. I just thought it was in our favor, we had the ball where we wanted with Jeremy. Flip was involved and with those two guys, good things have happened when the two of them have been involved. I give Mark a ton of credit for having the confidence to step up and hit. That is what you want from a guy. You would rather have him be aggressive and do that as opposed to shying away. That is not how Mark is wired. Really proud of him with how he’s worked and stuck with it.”
JUNIOR GUARD JEREMY ROACH
“It’s a big-time win. You know they’ve got a lot of experienced guys out there, a lot of fifth-year guys out there. A couple of those players, I played against when I was a freshman and they beat us in Cameron, so we definitely had a little extra motivation out there. It was just a big-time win. They cut the lead down close at the end, and for us to string together some stops and get some big-time buckets down the stretch, it was big for us.”
“Not every win’s going to be pretty. You’re going to have to muck out some wins, for sure, especially in the ACC when every team is coming for you every night. I’m just happy we got the win.”
“Mark Mitchell – hats off to him. He didn’t have his best first half and Coach [Jon Scheyer] kind of got on him at halftime. He came out [in the second half] and made some big-time plays for us down the stretch.”
On what it was like to see former Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, back in Cameron to watch the game:
“It’s always good to have the GOAT back in the building. He’s the reason I’m here and I can’t thank him enough. He didn’t talk to us in [the locker room], but I talked to him on the baseline, and he always gives you some words of encouragement before every game. I’ve just got a lot of love for him.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD KYLE FILIPOWSKI
“We battled. We’ve had some hard losses the last few games, and we’re getting toward the end of the season where we can’t do that anymore. I think [tonight] was just a gut check for us. We had some team meetings and we just had some player meetings and really just having some deep talks and finding the fluidity within all of us. I think that’s just going to get the streak going now, because everything we’ve done in the past, we’ve learned from it – from wins, from hard losses – but the most important time is when March comes. As long as we get to our peak there, then we’re going to be in a really good spot.”
When asked how it felt for him personally to bounce back from the loss at Virginia:
“Obviously, it felt really good for my confidence and knowing what I’m capable of. I still was trying to find my teammates in certain positions and just trying to have the energy and have some impact, regardless of if I was scoring 20 [points] or not. Just being out there and having fun with it – I think I did that today and had the right mental fortitude for that and it was a lot of fun.”
On having former Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, back in Cameron to watch the game:
“It was awesome, definitely. I know it’s not my place to say it, but I’d love to have him back more often. He’s the one that made this place what it’s known for, so it’s just highest and utmost respect for him.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD MARK MITCHELL
On his key three-pointer late in the game that put Duke up by four with 11 seconds left:
“I worked on that shot all week, and I’ve been in the gym late nights, after practice, before practice, so when the time came, my work showed. I just thank God that in the big moment I could step in and knock down that shot. I’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately, so it felt good to hit one like that, especially when you work on it a lot. Your work will eventually show. Whatever you do in the dark will eventually come to light, and it did in that moment.”
“[Notre Dame is] a good team, veteran team, and you know they’re going to come in here and play hard and fight. I’m just glad we pulled out the win.”
When asked if this win helped the players get the loss at Virginia out of their minds:
“I think it was just good to get back on the court, just to play. What happened Saturday was not in our hands. Just to get back here and get a W in the column, this was good for us.”