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The Blue Devils took on a tough Delaware team Friday night. I was unable to watch the game as it happened so I recorded it and watched it later, then again looking at it in 10 minute segments.

The first 10 minutes Duke was humming along and built a 12 point lead – despite several things occurring – 2 defensive breakdowns one on the interior that cost them a layup (was a really good layup), the other was on the perimeter with the Delaware guard taking advantage of a lack of communication between two Duke forwards (Mark Mitchell & Ryan Young)  that resulted in a semi-open look from 3 that Delaware nailed. The Hens were smart on offense and attacked Dereck Lively both on the perimeter and in the mid-range, making him guard in space and opening up the interior on occasion. Lively is still working back so kudos to the Hens for that strategy. Despite that the Blue Devils were rolling offensively so it covered those mistakes – Duke was off and running and drew 5 early fouls on the Hens.

The second 10 minutes saw Duke push the lead to 13 initially but Delaware hit some nice shots off of ball fakes and side dribbles, tough shots honestly. In one sequence after a Duke 3 pointer from Jaylen Blakes Duke gives up a straight line drive to Jameer Nelson, Proctor doesn’t help as to not give up the open corner 3. Duke only nets 1 point there.

At the 4:48 mark of the first half Duke gets a deflection and in the scramble for the loose ball Dariq Whitehead goes to the floor, the Delaware Hens player falls over Whitehead – who touched the ball first. Duke gets the foul and the 12 point lead goes to 10. Duke gets it back off of a Grandison dunk off of a feed from Ryan Young.

In the next series Whitehead gets beaten off the dribble causing Ryan Young to have to help freeing Young’s man for the easy feed and layup. It was a smart play from the Hens to attack Whitehead just back from injury, I also think Whitehead was guarding a tad too closely and Duke’s defensive spacing overall was bad in some stretches. So with Duke up 10 the Hens shoot a 3 off of a fast break, they secure the offensive rebound. The Blue Devils had 3 guys either in or within a foot of the lane but fail to get the rebound. Long 3 equals long rebound and it’s difficult to box out in a fast break situation so the defense in unbalanced and scrambling. The Hens have 4 guys on the perimeter and Duke only has 2 guys who aren’t in the lane. The Hens make the right pass, Jacob Grandison has to close hard on the shooter because of the distance. Smart Hens player sides step dribble, hits the 3. Duke only up 7 at the 3:59 mark. A Proctor live ball turnover and a Delaware fast break takes the lead down to 5. Duke very easily could have gone in at the half down by 1. Duke left 2 open shooters that missed 3’s in that final 3 minute stretch.

The Blue Devils go into the half only up 6. While the Blue Devils dominated in paint points in the half with a 22 to 10 edge. The Blue Hens hit 5 3-pointers to Duke’s 3 for a 15 to 9 edge there also scoring 8 points off of Duke turnovers – the Blue Devils scored 0 points from the 3 Delaware turnovers. The Hens also did a good job of keeping the Devils off the offensive glass. Duke only recorded 3 offensive rebounds in the first half against a much smaller team. Dereck Lively, Ryan Young, Mark Mitchell and Kyle Filipowksi combined only netted 6 rebounds combined in the first half.

Halftime adjustments were made for the Blue Devils who dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half going on a 22-11 run to garner a 17 point lead and essentially salt the game away. The Blue Devils did not give up a made 3 in the second half and held the Blue Hens to 34.6% shooting overall in the second half only giving up 22 points. Duke on the other hand went 3-7 from 3-point range and shot 47% overall.

The stats that stand out for the Blue Devils are their points off of turnovers where they had zero in the first half, they scored 14 in the second – only giving up 3 to the Hens. Duke also turned a deficit in second chance points into a positive. Where the Blue Devils only had 6 in the first half they scored 18 in the second half, while only giving up 4. The Blue Devils netted 11 offensive rebounds in the second half after only grabbing 3 in the first half. Mitchell, Lively, Young and Filipowski combined for 13 rebounds after the 6 they had in the first half.

Overall the Blue Devils out-rebounded Delaware, 47-25, including a 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Through the first four games this season, Duke has a 73-32 advantage in offensive rebounds. Duke held a 24-7 edge in second-chance points. Through four games, Duke is +46 (72-26) in second-chance scoring.

Kyle Filipowski led the Blue Devils in scoring with 18 points, he also pulled down 8 rebounds shooting 7-13 from the floor.

Freshman Tyrese Proctor finished the game with career highs in points (13), rebounds (10) and assists (four) to mark his first career double-double becoming the first Australian-born Blue Devil all-time to post a double-double. Proctor has scored 22 points over his last three halves of play – nine points in the second half vs. Kansas, 13 vs. Delaware.

Sophomore Jaylen Blakes scored a career-high nine points off the bench with a career-high four assists. He also had three rebounds to match a career high. Freshman Mark Mitchell (12 points) and graduate Jacob Grandison (10) were the other of four Blue Devils in double-figure points.


I highlighted some of these stretches to underscore a few things:

  1. This is still a work in progress and it’s hard to be the team you will be as you are integrating new pieces, the margin for error isn’t much right now but will be.
  2. It’s going to take a few more games for Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead to essentially catch up and thats ok.
  3. This team still needs some work in their half court offense but now that they are whole, that process can begin in earnest.
  4. Whitehead is quick, strong and can really change this team.
  5. Lively moves incredibly well for a 7-footer and if the flashes he has shown as a passer are accurate he’s going to be special there his court vision seems off the charts for a big.
  6. Tyrese Proctor has some special attributes that can really raise the ceiling for this team, he has shown flashes of brilliance at times and really heady on both ends of the floor.


Opening Statement: 

“I am really proud of the effort that we had tonight, I thought it was a great response. Delaware really tested us. We knew they had two really good players in [Jameer] Nelson, and in [Jyare] Davis, and the job we did on them, I thought it was terrific overall. They really tested us: six-point game and half. I just loved our defense, our energy, and our effort that we came out with in the second half. Tyrese [Proctor], I thought really got off to a faster start. For him to get 10 rebounds is a big deal. We took better care of the ball tonight, almost two to one in assist to turnovers. Rebounded well, and I was really proud of some of the guys off the bench. Jacob Grandison, what he did coming in the game. He didn’t play as much on Tuesday. We talked to our team that may happen at times where, we have some really good players. He [Grandison] didn’t put his head down. He’s worked really hard for two days. I thought he was just absolutely terrific tonight. I’m really proud of the response and effort from our team.” 

On Jeremy Roach’s performance: 

“I just think for Jeremy, it’s about the little plays. I thought tonight he really was just making the winning plays. I thought he was overthinking it first, instead of just playing instinctually, taking whatever’s there, and leading our team. But, he had great communication with me. I thought he did a really good job of running our team and making others better, but then also looking for his own, which is a tough balance. It’s not an easy thing to do. But that play, the charge, which ended up [a foul] as he was in the cylinder, putting his body in the line, and then that offensive rebound. Those little plays that add up to winning. He has to set the tone for us every night with that, and I liked what he did there, especially in the second half coming out from halftime. 

On Tyrese Proctor’s adjustment to college basketball: 

“I think for him, it’s just adjusting to the windows that are open in college basketball. It’s just a different game. I think that’s why you’ve seen him get off to maybe a slower start in the first halves. So tonight, you could just tell pregame he was moving in a different way. He’s sped up his game; he’s worked on that. I thought he was a really determined driver, getting in the pain tonight. And then 10 rebounds. He took a huge charge on [Jameer] Nelson for his third foul. Then, his scoring early and did a good job of sharing and passing early, really set the tone for our team.” 

On Dariq Whitehead’s return and his strengths as a player: 

“Dariq [Whitehead] did well. He hasn’t even had a week of practice under his belt. I spoke to him when we got back from Kansas, and he felt like he was ready to go and try it in the game. We knew there will be some rust, but I think you can see his athleticism, his body, and he’s really a smart player. He’s very smart. He knows how to move without the ball and play offense. Then the biggest thing for him, is just, I thought he got a little tired and started settling a little bit. He’s a really tough matchup when he’s attacking the rim, passing, and playmaking from there. I really liked his effort. We were hoping to get him 15 minutes tonight. And we did get him 15 minutes and so happy with that result.” 

On Duke’s defense and in-game adjustments: 

“I think the biggest thing is just the fact that we were solid in the second half. We were pretty spread out there in that first half. Probably a good amount of that’s on me, I wanted us to pick up and I think that led to gambling and looking for steals. That’s not our defense, we need to be solid, disciplined, and with our size, protecting the paint. Give them credit, they hit some tough threes in that first half. I thought we did a much better job of being disciplined, controlling the ball, and having an awareness for protecting our rim.” 


On getting his first career double-double: 

“Yeah, it felt great. Just trying to do the little things. We were only up six, I think, at the half so [we] had to come in [the] second half and just really make an emphasis on my defense. I think we did that as a group and that led to my double-double.” 

On what Duke saw offensively in the second half that allowed them to increase their lead: 

“I think we shared the ball a lot better than we did in the first half. I think we shared it early in the first and then it [the ball] started to stick a little bit late in the first. We just came out, everyone had confidence and believed in each other and just kept moving the ball.” 

On grabbing 10 rebounds: 

“It was great. My big men were boxing out, I’m just getting their scraps. They’ve been great all year and it’s going to be a huge thing for us moving forward.” 


On being more aggressive tonight and looking for his shot: 

“I was just doing what I do. I wasn’t thinking selfishly or anything, it was just kind of a mismatch situation. So, I think that’s why I was a little bit more aggressive.” 

On his hot start to the season: 

“I think just coming out right from the beginning and bringing the energy. That gets myself and everyone else going, especially on defense as well. So, I think just playing that defense, that even gets me going – when I get a stop, get a rebound, that gets me excited to now keep the momentum going and let the offense take care of itself.” 

On getting Dariq Whitehead back: 

“It was awesome. I’ve known Dariq and been playing with him since fourth grade. So, just being able to play with him again, seeing him do what he does best. It might not have been the best performance but he’s getting there and it’s great to see him back out on the court.”