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The first few series of the Duke vs Upstate game weren’t the prettiest for the Blue Devils with 3 turnovers in the first 3 and a half minutes, no buckets and 2 fast break layups for the other team. Clearly the Spartans came out with aggression on both ends of the floor and channeled that energy into a 7-0 lead. A 3-pointer from junior guard Jeremy Roach and a media time out broke the Blue Devils out of their funk and they managed to go on a 43-11 run to end the half. The run was fueled by a much more tenacious and opportunistic style of defense – in short, the Blue Devils turned up. The run included the first points by freshman Dereck Lively who made his season debut scoring on 2 dunks for the Blue Devils in the first half. Jeremy Roach and Jacob Grandison scored 8 each to lead the Blue Devils in the half, both hitting on 2 three-pointers each. The Blue Devils capitalized on Upstate turnovers scoring 20 points off of 10 turnovers by the opposition.

The second half saw more of the same from the Blue Devils who doubled up the Spartans scoring 41 points to just 20 for Upstate. The second half saw the first bucket for freshman Tyrese Proctor on a drive from the top of the key for a layup. Proctor has been struggling on the offensive end for the Blue Devils but has not allowed his offensive woes to effect his defense or his ability to set up his teammates. Proctor ended the game with just 3 points but also netted 3 assists and a steal. The Blue Devils were led by freshman Kyle Filipowski who dropped 15 points on 4-11 shooting and also pulled down 10 rebounds in the 84-38 win. Mark Mitchell added 10 points and 3 assists on 6-10 shooting. Grad student Ryan Young went 4-8 adding 11 points and 8 rebounds. Junior guard Jeremy Roach dished 7 assists and scored 10 points in 25 minutes adding 2 steals.

The Blue Devils as a team shot 33% from beyond the arc and 44% for the game. Duke scored 39 points off of 23 Upstate Spartan turnovers and shot 65% from the free throw line.

Duke plays No. 5 Kansas on Tuesday in Indianapolis in the State Farm Champions Classic. The game tips at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Game Notes

  • Duke has allowed just 82 points through two games, its fewest allowed through the first two games of a season since 1946-47, when the Blue Devils beat High Point, 44-29, and Hanes Hosiery, 44-43. The 2005-06 team allowed 87 points through the first two games – beating Boston University, 64-47, and Seton Hall, 93-40.
  • Since allowing 26 to Jacksonville in the first half of Monday’s season opener, the Blue Devils have allowed 18, 18 and 20 over the last three halves, respectively.
  • Duke out rebounded USC Upstate, 52-27, including a 20-7 edge on the offensive glass. The second chance points favored Duke, 21-3.
  • The victory was Duke’s 100th all-time when playing as the AP No. 7 ranked team (100-31). All-time, Duke is now 905-199 when playing as an AP top-10 ranked team.
  • Of the 14 Blue Devils that saw action, 11 had at least one rebound, 11 scored, 10 had at least one steal and six had at least one blocked shot.
  • Lively made his Duke debut, after missing the exhibition and first game with a calf injury. He made his first two field goals (both dunks) and finished with four points, two rebounds, two blocks and one steal in 15 minutes.
  • Filipowski recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He and Marvin Bagley III in 2017-18 are the only two Duke freshman all-time to open a career with consecutive double-doubles.
  • Freshman Mark Mitchell scored 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. He has scored 31 points through two games.
  • Grandison scored 12 points – his 57th career game in double-figures, while graduate transfer Ryan Young scored 11 with eight rebounds – his 34th career double-figure game and second this season.
  • Grandison’s three steals were a game high, and matched a career high he had set six previous times – last coming while a player at Holy Cross on Feb., 27, 2019 vs. Colgate.
  • Junior Jeremy Roach had a game-high seven assists with 10 points and was a game-best +43.



Opening Statement: 

“First of all, I want to say Happy Veterans Day. I know we had a lot of Duke students here tonight that are veterans themselves and their family. So, I really appreciate them being here, their service and I thought our crowd was incredible. We don’t take for granted the students and the way they show out and support our team in the game. Final minute of the game, you would have thought it’s the first possession, they’re the same way the entire game. I thought they were incredible. This was a really good performance for us. USC Upstate, they have had some injuries which has really hurt them, but thought we played a good defensive performance, out rebounding them, holding [Jordan] Gainey to five points. He’s a really good player. Just proud of the overall effort. We need to get off to a better start clearly, but I like the way we responded.” 

On what was said to the team after trailing 7-0 early: 

“I mean, I said a lot. I don’t know if it’s the reason we turned it around. But I thought Jacob Grandison and Jaylen Blakes’, the energy that they brought and the defensive intensity. They really sparked us; from there we were off and running. The big thing for us is turning our defense into offense. But we weren’t getting stops right away. Actually, we didn’t even have a chance to get stops because we just gave up a couple layups to start the game. I credit those guys with sparking us.” 

On the return of Dereck Lively: 

“Really happy with Dereck being able to play 15 minutes. His biggest thing is just getting back in game shape. You know, he has a live body. Got those dunks running the floor. That’s something he can really do, and it allows us to play very fast. Him [Dereck] and Ryan [Young], they can also play together. They’re a heck of a one-two punch with both of those guys in the game. They play differently but they complement each other very well. And I think that going against each other has made them each better, and ready to contribute in a big way. So, really happy with what he did. Just his biggest thing is just continuing get back in the game shape. And his game is not going to be back to full right away. We are going to be patient with that. Our biggest thing is just to play hard. If you need quick subs, we’ll get in for you. I thought he did a really good job of pushing through tonight. Really happy with what Dereck did.” 

On this team defensively: 

“We’ve spent a lot of time on defense. That has been our main focus, and I think we’re in a good spot. They have six assists and 23 turnovers. I thought we were really disruptive. There’s been an emphasis on keeping them out of the paint, there’s no question they got too many open looks, we need to contest every shot. We have Jaylen Blakes, Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell, Tyrese Proctor, and guys that can really defend the ball, and then we have a big frontcourt. We’re learning how to play physical without fouling. I think we have the makings of being a good defensive team. We are on our way and on some rotations and close outs we need to do a better job. The effort is out there and that is where it starts on defense.” 


On the team’s chemistry: 

“We all love each other. Obviously, we’re a Brotherhood, but we just have a lot of fun out there – I think that’s the biggest thing that we do. We have a lot of fun, a lot of smiles. Guys are not out there not smiling, not having fun. That’s the point of basketball – you gotta have fun.” 

On his advice to the freshmen heading into the Kansas matchup: 

“You’ve got to lock in for 40 minutes. These games, you might be able to take some plays off, maybe. But a game like Kansas, you have to be ready every possession. Every possession matters because the game can turn at any point. So, just stay hungry. We know they’re going to be hungry, they’re the defending national champs, so we have to be ready.” 

On having Dereck Lively back: 

“It’s huge. It gives us another paint protector and paint presence. Obviously, we’ve got Ryan Young [and] he’s been doing a hell of a job for him, but D-Lively – he’s going to be a lob threat, paint protector, a guy who can run the floor and he can space it out to. So, it’s going to be a hell of an addition.” 


On finally being able to get out there and play: 

“It was an amazing feeling to be out there with my team. Sadly, I was out for a couple of days, but I’m back and better than ever.” 

On his emphatic dunk early in the game: 

“It just feels amazing to be out there in Cameron. It feels great to be out there with my team, and I know my teammates supported me just like I supported them.” 

On the environment in Cameron: 

“There’s nothing like Cameron. The energy, the crowd. You feel everybody from the first row to the last row. It feels amazing.” 

On his biggest takeaway from tonight and how the team can build heading into the Kansas game: 

“Really just making sure we take our defensive principles to heart. Making sure we get everything done on the defensive side so that the offensive side just flows, and making sure that we just play together.”