One thing you can never predict is how a team comprised of mostly freshmen with a starting lineup who’s average age is 19 will respond playing in a rivalry game where the opponents average age per starter is 22 will respond. I’d say the Blue Devils, despite having every conceivable reason to lose this game found a way to pull out a victory.
In the grand scheme of things the real value comes from gaining ground on both UVA and Clemson who both lost today but for the rivalry where UNC had won 6 out of the last 10 and 2 straight including the debacle in last seasons Final Four. Duke needed a palate cleanser of sorts and doing so against basically the same team that beat a Duke squad last year comprised of 3 first round NBA Draft picks.
Duke would have to execute on some key points in order to beat UNC, one of which was to defend without fouling. Check. UNC only got took 3 foul shots in the game. The second point was to guard the paint – Duke was able to keep Armando Bacot from controlling the game. The Blue Devils were able to hold the All-American to under his season average in points and rebounds. If UNC was to get hot beyond the arc, a team that on the season is shooting 31%, well you live with that.
The Blue Devils used a stellar defensive performance from freshman Dereck Lively and an offensive explosion from junior Jeremy Roach to take down the Tar Heels.
The first half saw the Tar Heels take a 7 point lead on the Blue Devils but despite a big half for Armando Bacot who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, Duke was able to counter with Jeremy Roach, who scored 10 points of his 20 in the first stanza. Duke battled back to take a 1 point lead at the half on the strength of Roach and 9 points and 3 assists from Tyrese Proctor.
The second half saw both teams throw punches to the tune of 4 lead changes. The Blue Devils used an 18 to 8 advantage in paint points to edge out the Tar Heels who shot 26.3% from the three-point line. What sank the Tar Heels in the end was a lack of paint touches for their leading scorer who inexplicably didn’t get a shot in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Duke was paced by junior guard Jeremy Roach who scored 20 points, including the Blue Devils’ final four points of the game and eight of the team’s last 10. Freshman Dereck Lively was a defensive marvel in the game blocking a career high 8 shots and grabbing 14 rebounds. The eight blocks by Lively were the most all-time by a Duke player in a Duke-Carolina game and the second-most by a Duke freshman in any game, trailing nine by Mike Gminski at Davidson on Jan. 5, 1977.
Freshman Kyle Filipowski recorded his 21st double-figure scoring game with 14 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. Over the last seven games, Filipowski has scored 140 points (20.0) and grabbed 78 rebounds (11.1). Freshman Tyrese Proctor was third Blue Devil in double figures with 11 points, five assists and seven rebounds. Proctor has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games and is averaging 12.4 points in that stretch.
DUKE HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
“Well, first of all, it was a big time win for us, for me. Last night I spoke to our students; there were about 3,000 students here. Then to show up for College Gameday and then to be here. That environment was just top notch – as good as I’ve been in. Just proud of our team for being ready to compete – not just play – but being ready to compete in an environment like this. I thought our crowd was incredible. I thought it was a really physical game. They’re really good, obviously. You know, Dereck Lively just changed the game. His rim protection; I’m so proud. I’ve talked to you guys about this before, you know, the journey. For Dereck, getting hurt in the preseason, continuing to just battle through and find his rhythm. To do what he did today, one, I’m not surprised because he’s worked incredibly hard. Him and Amile Jefferson, every morning, they have a routine they do now. But two, I’m just proud of him for that. Jeremy [Roach], the whole game, was in control. Big buckets at key times. Tyrese [Proctor], his offense but also his defense. And then Flip [Kyle Filipowski] might have had one of the big time plays of getting the loose ball to get us an extra possession down the stretch there. For us we have a quick turnaround here. We have to enjoy this one tonight and learn from it, but then move on very quickly.”
On the huge impact Dereck Lively had on the game, even without a prominent scoring performance:
“It’s a credit to what makes Dereck so special. For us, I’ve seen him really change high school games or AAU games with doing the same thing. Usually bigs are so hungry to score. That’s not necessarily the most efficient play or the best play for him. He’s all about the team, he’s all about winning, and the impact that he has on defense, besides the blocked shots. I would like to look back on the film. He had eight blocked shots – I was told that’s the most ever in a Duke Carolina game. But also the shots that he changes, just by being around the basket. He had some big plays by just switching. He’s staying in front of their guards who are really good. It just speaks to the versatility he has.”
On the effect a win like this can have on the confidence of a young team:
“It definitely helps. I felt, after my time playing here, that there’s two major ways to get confidence. One is preparation. You get confident by the preparation that you put in. But two, it’s confidence from your experiences, in actually doing it, in winning. You know, we’ve been right there. We’ve had some close games. We just haven’t been able to get the key stop, or get the key bucket to go ahead two possessions. Tonight we did. There were multiple times in the huddles where our players were talking. I didn’t even have to say anything because we’ve been going over it after our losses and wins. You hate to lose, but you learn more in the losses. For our guys, just really hungry, and they made some big time winning plays down the stretch.”
On key players making winning plays down the stretch, even after playing extensive minutes:
“Just, I think, the will to win. They just had a big time will to win. Even talking to them before the game, they just had a look. We’ve gotten tougher from the experiences we’ve gone through. I think we’ve gotten closer when you go through some stuff. Whether you lose a tough one, whether you don’t play as well. We’ve just blocked it all out and kept pushing. We have to do the same thing now in a different way, because this is obviously a great win for us but we play Miami in 48 hours. I just credit the will that our guys have. It comes from within. Credit to them just continuing to work, continuing to believe, and understanding what it takes to win.”
On the physicality of the game:
“It was a physical game, on both ends. That was a huge thing for us, going into this game. They get to the foul line more than anybody. For us, just making them earn it. You know, [Caleb] Love hit some tough shots; make him earn it. Don’t just give them free throws. They’re automatic free throw shooters. [Armando] Bacot puts a lot of pressure on you at the free throw line. I credit Dereck with him. I thought we were fortunate they also missed some open looks. It’s a one possession game. I was proud of our guys for not being handsy. Playing without using their hands, and also being physical without fouling. That’s something, as a young team, we’ve had to learn. We’ve gotten pushed around at time throughout the year, but, for us, we’ve learned how to do that much better.”
JUNIOR GUARD JEREMY ROACH
On Dereck Lively II:
“He’s been working his tail off since he got here. Obviously, he’s had some ups and downs at the beginning of the season, but he’s come in every day, worked, lifting. It’s showing off now and I’m just so happy for him.”
On the play when he scored on a drive to put Duke up by four points with 23 seconds left in the game:
“It was a ball screen between me and Flip [Kyle Filipowski]. I told him to slip it. We knew [North Carolina] would kind of mess up on their talking, which they did, and I think two guys went to Flip, and I kind of got an easy lane when [Armando] Bacot was looking for the lob. I got an easy lane, and we executed it perfectly.”
When asked if this win was particularly satisfying after losing to North Carolina last year at home and then in the Final Four:
“Definitely, it was a little bit personal for me, with what happened last year obviously. I just wanted to come out here and do everything I can to get this win. It kind of eases [the pain of last year] a little bit. Obviously, we’ve still got more work to do. We play them again, so we can’t just think about what we did last time. We’ve got to go out there and do it again.”
“This is a rivalry. We take it a game at a time, but, obviously, this game definitely has a little more juice to it. I’m just happy that these guys got the chance to experience this rivalry, experience this atmosphere, and I’m glad that we came out with the win.”
FRESHMAN CENTER DERECK LIVELY II
“It was a great atmosphere to be in. You know both teams are going to give it their all, and it’s just a great competition to be in. I’m just glad to be here. I’m glad to compete with my brothers.”
When asked about his ability to make huge contributions tonight without scoring many points:
“That’s just something I’ve always been able to do. I haven’t been able to be as offensive-driven as every other player here, but I’ve got my own way to give to this team. I get my rebounds, I get my blocks, [and] I do the dirty work.”
When asked if his matchup with North Carolina’s Armando Bacot lived up to his expectations tonight:
“I think it was more than I expected. He’s a great player. He knows how to get position and he knows how to get angles, and I’m just glad we came out on top.”
On what allowed him to be successful defending Bacot tonight:
“Really just trying to be able to stay down, stay strong, and don’t let him get to the positions where he wants. Try to keep him out of the paint and try to keep him out of his comfortable area.”
“I have been comfortable in these last couple of games, but I’m just trying to stay hungry, trying to stay starving, and just trying to make sure people don’t try to punk me and people just can respect me. Stay hungry – I work in the gym every day. I try to lift every day and just try to get better.”
FRESHMAN GUARD TYRESE PROCTOR
“I think rebounds was a huge thing. D-Live [Dereck Lively II] did a great job on the boards. The 50/50 balls was next – we got a lot of loose balls that I think a few games ago we wouldn’t have gotten. [We were] just locking in on that in the film [room] and really emphasizing that before the game.”
On play of Dereck Lively II tonight:
“D-Live [Dereck Lively II] worked his butt off all night. He had a big-time matchup and an experienced guy in Armando [Bacot], great rebounder. He just did his job. He was physical the whole night. His main goal coming into this was just get [Bacot] off the boards by boxing him out and letting us get all the rebounds for him. All the rebounds that me and [Jeremy] Roach got and all the guys, it’s his work. We just got all the cleanup. And I think he had eight blocks or something at the end of the game. It’s just crazy. He had a great game. I think his confidence was there the whole time, but he’s starting to get into a rhythm now.”
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season, but we kept strong faces the whole game and were really close late in that game. I think in the last five minutes our huddles and our talk were really, really key, and everyone was just locked in on the final target.”
“The atmosphere was crazy. It was the loudest game I’ve ever been in in my life. It was crazy – I couldn’t hear myself think and I’m just so happy we got the win.”
NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH HUBERT DAVIS
On shooting 27 three pointers
“I don’t think just because we shot 27 makes it we turned into a three-point shooting team. The stat that I’m looking at, is that going into the game we had shot 150 more free throws than any other opponent in our conference. We shot three; zero in the second half. That is what I’m looking at.”
On how Dereck Lively changed the game
“He [Dereck Lively] is a fantastic player; Duke is a fantastic defensive team. They pressure you. They do a great job with their quickness moving their feet. Dereck is one of the best, if not the best even if he doesn’t block it, his length and his athleticism can alter it. We went to the free throw line three times, and we shoot 150 more than any team in the conference.”
On what Coach will tell the team ahead of Tuesday’s matchup vs Wake Forest
“There is no other option. Yes. I don’t know what else to tell the team. We got to play awake on Tuesday. Crap. This is basketball; this is life. Let’s go back to work tomorrow. Let’s get back to work. Let’s work hard. Let’s do it with energy, effort, passion, enthusiasm. Let’s go show up on Monday. Let’s work hard: energy, effort, passion, enthusiasm, togetherness, closeness, hunger and thirst. Let’s play on Tuesday against a great, unbelievable Wake Forest team.”
On team morale compared to last season
“That is difficult. I think I know where you’re coming from. It’s just a difficult question for me to answer, and this is the reason: I don’t think about last year at all. I just don’t. For me, it just has been no benefit. I don’t think it has any benefit for us moving forward. I think I’ve said this to you guys before. The number one thing that I learned as a second-year head coach is that every year is different. I think our guys love playing with each other. I think our guys love doing this together. One of the things that I always tell them is to find joy and how hard it is to be successful, whether it’s individually or as a team. I think our guys really enjoy playing together. That’s why they came back.”