The Blue Devils coming off of back to back loses were in dire need of righting the ship. The good news is they would be in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the bad news is that they’d be without their starting point guard Tyrese Proctor.
In the absence of Proctor the Blue Devils inserted freshman Caleb Foster into the lineup. Saturday also saw Mark Mitchell re-inserted into the starting lineup as well. After a string of games in which the Blue Devils started slowly the Blue Devils came out quickly against the Charlotte 49ers. Duke started the game with a Jared McCain 3-pointer and the hot shooting continued. Duke exploded for 45 points in the first half and an 18 point lead at the break. Fueled by stellar guard shooting, the Blue Devils were 5-9 from beyond the arc in the first half for 55.6% and 57.7% overall in the half.
Charlotte did make a run in the second half with sophomore Kyle Filipowski on the bench with an ankle injury. The 49ers put together an 11-2 run to pull within 11 points but Duke closed the game on a 23-11 run to win 80-56.
Jared McCain scored 14 of his game and career high 21 points in the first half connecting on 3-7 from beyond the arc and 7-13 overall. Jeremy Roach continued his hot offensive streak scoring 18 points, shooting 5-9 from the field and 3-5 from 3 but the most surprising performance belonged to Jaylen Blakes who was a perfect 5-5 from the field, going 3-3 from the 3-point line for 15 points.
The story of the game for the Blue Devils was a much better and renewed effort to move without the basketball. From offensive spacing, to movement, to simply hitting open shots, everything offensively seemed to flow for the Blue Devils – at least former everyone not named Kyle Filipowski. Filipowski was a paltry 2-10 from the field, netting just 5 points. The 7 foot sophomore did however add 14 boards to lead the Blue Devils, and 4 assist to also lead the team.
The Blue Devils did a much better job of rebounding the basketball against a big 49er frontline to the tune of a 36-25 advantage. Duke also held the edge in fast break points (17-11) and second chance points (12-4).
Defensively the Blue Devils held the 49ers to 40.4% shooting and just 20% from beyond the arc scoring 9 points off of 11 Charlotte turnovers and 17 off of fast break opportunities.
- Jared McCain scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The freshman is the fifth Blue Devil overall to score 20+ points this season, but the first freshman to do so – joining Kyle Filipowski, Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell and Tyrese Proctor.
- Jaylen Blakes scored a season-high 15 points, shooting 5-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
- Kyle Filipowski grabbed 13 rebounds, his third double-digit boards effort in the last four games and the 19th of his career. The Blue Devils are 15-4 when Filipowski collects 10 rebounds or more.
- The sophomore has finished with 14, 10, nine and 13 rebounds, an average of 11.5 caroms across those four games.
- Jeremy Roach ended the contest 3-of-5 from long range – his 11th career game with three or more successful 3-pointers. Duke is now 10-2 all-time when Roach makes three or more three-pointers.
- Mark Mitchell logged 12 points on 2-of-5 shooting from the floor and 8-of-12 from the charity stripe. The Blue Devils are now 19-2 when Mitchell scores 10 or more points.
- Tyrese Proctor and Christian Reeves were both unavailable due to injury.
JUNIOR GUARD JAYLEN BLAKES
When asked what it was like entering today’s game coming off two straight losses: “It can either make or break us and, for us, it kind of brought us together and we had a collective energy where we needed to make a statement that the two games don’t define us. We have a lot more season left, and this is going to help with our momentum. We obviously see [the negativity on social media], but we can’t listen to it. We have an internal belief in ourselves. Nobody sees what’s going on behind closed doors, the way we’ve put in the work, and at the end of the day, we understand the work that we put in. People can write us off, they can do all of that, but we have an internal belief in ourselves that our work will pay off and we’ll continue to build off this momentum.”
On his solid all-around performance today: “I was just feeding off my teammates’ energy and feeding off the Cameron energy. My teammates found me in the right spot and I made the shots, but I think it always starts with defense and defense will translate to offense. That’s something that I try to bring day in and day out, and I think the way the starters set the tone this game just made it a lot easier for me to come in and just make shots. [My focus is] doing whatever it takes to win. If I need to score, I’ll do that, but if I don’t need to, I’m happy with that, too, because at the end of the day, winning is the most important thing. That’s my job – to just continue to be a constant winner, bring winning energy, and bring toughness. Coming off the bench, being a part of the second unit, my job is to uplift the energy that the starters are bringing in, and every day, I’m trying to bring the fire, the toughness, the passion, coming off the bench and trying to uplift, trying to add to winning. To contribute to a positive value is the most important thing, and that’s something that I try to do. It definitely feels good when the shots go in, but I think most importantly, it was about the energy that I was bringing. Making a shot, that feels good, obviously, but defense and getting the win is most important.”
FRESHMAN GUARD JARED MCCAIN
“This whole week of practice was just for us to get better, find our identity, and we shared the ball out there. The game plan was pretty simple – just share the ball, get kicks, and I was able to knock some shots down. I wish I could’ve had those back in the past few games, but I just trust my work and it’ll always come back.” “I’ve learned so much this college season already. There are so many ups and downs, especially as a freshman, just getting to know the college basketball ways. It’s been fun to learn and just build off everything.”
When asked how this team has dealt with the adversity and people doubting them after losing two straight games: “It’s funny, whenever we lose, I gotta get off every social media platform. I don’t want to even look at anything. We’ll always bounce back. Coach [Jon Scheyer] says we’re a family, we’re in this together, and I think that’s what we did this week and we really capitalized.” “We weren’t being the tougher team in these losses and that’s been a main thing for us in practice – just play as hard as we can. For me personally, I need to get better on defense, and this whole week I’ve been trying and I’m just continuing to build off that.”