Duke Blue Devils (20-8, 11-6) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (16-12, 6-11)
Game #29 • Home Game #15 • ACC Game #18 • Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 • 8 p.m. ET
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) • Durham, N.C.
Radio: Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD
In the midst of a season-long three-game home stand, the Duke Blue Devils looks to even the season series as they welcome the Virginia Tech Hokies to Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday.
Duke is looking to even the season series when Virginia Tech visits on Feb. 25 for Duke’s final Saturday home game this season. The Blue Devils dropped a 78-75 decision in Blacksburg on Jan. 23 — a game that Duke led by as many as five in the second half. Kyle Filipowski scored a career-high 29 points with 10 rebounds in that game. Duke allowed the Hokies to shoot 52.6% from beyond the arc and 57.1% from the field overall in a game that saw Hunter Cattoor and Grant Basile combine for 40 points.
The last 10 games in the Duke-VT series are knotted at five, but Duke has won nine straight home games in the series and leads the overall series, 51-13, and 22-1 in Durham.
As a freshman, Jeremy Roach poured in a career-high 22 points in Blacksburg on Jan. 12, 2021, shooting 6-of-14 from the field and 8-of-8 at the free throw line — 74-67 Hokie win.
Overall Duke leads, 51-13
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 22-1
at Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke leads, 18-1
In Blacksburg, VA Duke leads, 13-9
at Cassell Coliseum Tied, 7-7
Neutral Sites Duke leads, 12-2
Last Meeting @VT 75, Duke 73 (Jan. 23, 2023)
Last 10 Games in Series Tied, 5-5
The Blue Devils have won three straight to pull within one game of a top-four spot and 2.5 games of first place in the ACC standings with three games remaining in the regular season. Over their three game winning streak, Duke is shooting .488 from the field and .397 from three-point range with an assist-turnover ratio of 2.0. Over its last three halves of play, Duke has 29 assists and 10 turnovers (just one turnover in that span by its starting back court). The Blue Devils are second in the conference in scoring defense (63.9), second in three-point field goal defense (.307) and third in field goal defense (.414). Duke has held 24 of 28 opponents below their season scoring average (20-4 in those games), including nine that scored a then-season low for points versus the Blue Devils. The balanced Blue Devils saw all five starters score in double figures in Monday’s win over Louisville — first occurrence this season. Duke leads the ACC in bench scoring at 20.5 points per game, with six players on the roster averaging at least 7.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Freshman Kyle Filipowski, this week’s ACC Rookie of the Week for the eighth time, leads all conference freshmen in rebounding and double-doubles. His 12 double-doubles are the most by any freshman nationally, while his 9.1 rebounds lead all power conference freshmen. At 15.1 points, Filipowski is the nation’s only freshman — and one of just eight power conference players overall — averaging at least 15 points and nine rebounds this season.
Leading the team in scoring in back-to-back wins over Syracuse (17 points) and Louisville (14), junior Jeremy Roach has scored 139 points over his last 10 games (13.9) since returning from a toe injury that held him out for three games. In that span, Roach has two 20-point efforts (in wins over Carolina and Wake) while shooting .482 (55-of-114) from the field. Freshman Tyrese Proctor (right) hit a career-best four threes vs. Louisville and is second on the team in three-point shooting (19-of-46; .413) over the last 10 games.
About Virginia Tech
The Hokies enter Saturday with a 16-12 record over-all and are 6-11 in conference. They boast wins over Virginia and Pitt both coming in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech is 26th in the country in assists they lead the ACC in that category. They are second in the league in field goal percentage.
They are led in scoring by graduate student Grant Basile who scores 16.6 points per game. Basile is second on the team in terms of 3 point field goal percentage at 38.5%. Forward Justyn Mutts leads the teal in assists per game at 4.9, he also scores in double figures at 13.2 points per game, Mutts is also the leading rebounder at 7.3 per game. Hunter Cattoor may well be the best shooter in the ACC, where he is averaging 43.8% from beyond the arc on the year and 47.7% in conference games this season. Cattoor is averaging 10.9 points per game. Sophomore Sean Pedulla rounds out the double figure scoring for Virginia Tech at 15.4 per game.
Grant Basile has scored double figures in 12 straight games. He has broken the 20-point mark in six of the last nine contests. Over the last nine games, Basile is averaging 22.4 points per game. Basile is one of three ACC players averaging at least 18 points per game in conference play.
Basile (eighth) and Sean Pedulla (15th) give the Hokies two of the top 15 scorers in the ACC. Hunter Cattoor is first in the league in 3FG% at 43.8% (64-146). He went 5 for 10 from beyond the arc against Miami en route to his 1,000th career point.
Duke Blue Devils
G Jeremy Roach 6’2, 180lbs Jr.
G Tyrese Proctor 6’5 175lbs Fr.
F Mark Mitchell 6’8, 220lbs Fr.
F Kyle Filipowski 7’0, 230lbs Fr.
F Dereck Lively 7’1, 230lbs Fr.
Virginia Tech Hokies
G Sean Padulla 6’1, 195lbs So.
G Hunter Cattoor 6’3, 200lbs Sr.
G MJ Collins 6’4, 190lbs Fr.
F Justyn Mutts 6’7, 220lbs Sr.
F Grant Basile 6’9, 235lbs Gr.
HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
On how Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively II still grew as players while recovering from injuries:
“Well, the main thing is being at every practice and that’s a time of the year when you install your offense and defense. And so just for them to understand, strategically, what we’re trying to do, and then really, I don’t know if they got sick of Nick Potter, but Nick for us, he’s our sports scientists and physical therapist and those titles don’t do them justice. He brings a ton of value to our team and so every day he’d be working with them on the side, in very, very specific basketball movements to get them ready. And so when they came back there’s a shape to improve but physically the way they were moving was really good for us.”
On what areas he thinks the team has grown the most and what areas still need to grow more:
“Knowing how to play together has been the biggest growth for us. Beginning of the year, you want to do those things, but you don’t know how individually and then you don’t know the guys around you what strengths they have. And so for us, we’re at a point now we know the strengths of our team. Our rotation has been more dependable and consistent because, from our aspect because we’ve had so much influx with lineups and injuries. And then on the defensive end we’ve grown. Especially protecting the basket, that’s been a weakness for us giving up points in the paint when we’ve lost. And so for our games, especially as of late, we’ve done a much better job keeping the ball the paint.”
On how Virginia Tech got into the paint and shot well from three in the first matchup this season:
“We gave up both against them and that’s not a good recipe. Started with [Hunter] Cattoor going crazy. [Grant] Basile of course had a really good game. But they can score down in the paint. And for us, it’s really staying true to who we are as a team and we want to defend the three point line. Of course, they’re gonna make some threes, it’s what they do. But can’t give up layups. You can’t give up layups and win big games. And so for us, building our identity. That’s something we’ve talked about. We need to continue to do, even if it’s a team that shoots a lot of threes like a Virginia Tech.”
On where he thinks the team is health wise:
“We’re in the best spot we’ve been and we need to continue to move that way. We want to do more practice to protect their bodies and we’ve gone more contact than we have recently because we need it. We’re still learning, but we don’t want to go for the length anymore in practice. So today we’ll go for about 45 minutes and get our stuff in sharp, hard. And then get out.”
On if he agrees with other ACC coaches’ perspective on the ACC as a whole this season:
“Well, I feel I have a unique perspective because I’ve been in the league, even though it’s my first year as a head coach, been in this league four years as a player and now 10 years as a coach. What is it, 14 of the last 17 seasons. And so I know the strength of the league this year but also the history of what we’ve done in the NCAA Tournament speaks for itself. [Coach Forbes] mentioned last year with us and Carolina in the Final Four, Miami in the Elite Eight. I think there’s a reason for that. You look at the different styles of play you go against. Let’s use who we played last weekend. We played Syracuse, who plays all zone and Louisville is more of an aggressive athletic team. And the next three teams we play are all different styles. I could go down the list. Florida State, they’re gonna switch a lot and get after you and it prepares you for anything you see in March. So, I think it’s, we have been disrespected. I know there’s a lot of metrics out there that rate the league based on different things and all I know is I think our league is much improved from last year. And you’re coming off a year you had three of the eight teams were from the ACC. We have to do our job in March still, whoever’s in it and moving forward. But there’s no doubt in my mind the games that we’ve played, the league is older. We’ve returned a lot. Not us. We haven’t. But we brought in really good players and we’re really good. But there’s no question the ACC isn’t given the respect that it deserves. I thought what Steve [Forbes] and Cape [Jeff Capel] has spoken up recently and really, really agree with both of those guys what their comments are.”
GRADUATE GUARD JACOB GRANDISON
On how the team has responded since the Miami loss:
“Yeah, I think there’s different types of losses throughout the season. You could blame things on many things. But Miami kicked our butt and we had to respond. There’s no other choice when you’re doing this for a profession, but it shows that we can respond and that we’re learning lessons so that as the postseason starts to come you remember those and those feelings and those scenarios and know how to handle them. So, it’s growing pains. But we’re getting taller.”
On if there’s anything he’s seen from the freshmen that they weren’t doing a month or two ago:
“I mean, college is a little bit of a game of mistakes. You know, capitalizing and taking advantage of those type of things. And every freshman goes through a learning curve. of realizing that certain things don’t work and working out of it. It’s kind of like a natural process of maturing and aging and learning and playing with older guys who have been playing. It’s supposed to happen. Credit to all freshmen, our freshmen for figuring things out and kind of being under scrutiny and heat and still trying to grow within that. But it’s what you got to do, you got to grow as a freshman and that’s what our freshmen have done.”
On his thoughts about the Virginia Tech after losing to the Hokies earlier in the season:
“I mean, it just kind of comes down to who wants it more. We’ve faced each other already. We didn’t really put our best foot forward that game but you can’t really hold on to that. And rather than talking about it, I like just going to do it. So, we got today’s practice, tomorrow’s practice. Lock in on that and come out with the right mindset and handle that.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD MARK MITCHELL
On how the team has responded since the Miami loss:
“Yeah, I think just since the Miami loss I just think we just learned a few things. We weren’t gonna lay down. Obviously wasn’t good for us to have that loss. But I think we definitely learned some things and I think we’ve shown that just the way we’ve been fighting, competing, not letting things rattle us. Obviously getting late in the season. I think we’re just growing too. Just having our full team back, playing together. I think we’re just finding our groove, finding a niche. Still just figuring out how to play with each other because we haven’t played all that many games all together. I think that’s just where we’re seeing our success lately.”
On if he thinks the team has turned a corner:
“Yeah, I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction. I think we still have some ways to go. I think getting this win on Saturday, these two wins coming up, you know, two teams that we lost to in the past. I think it’s getting these two wins is what we’re focused on. I think we’re definitely finding our groove, finding what’s good for us.”
On what has been the key for him over the last two and a half games to help him be more assertive:
“I think it’s just staying the course. Not getting too high, not getting too low. Obviously, just trying to do what I can to help the team win, not overthinking things, just playing my part, playing my role. Just trying to play hard. I don’t think I got, I was going through the slump there for a little bit, but I think just staying confident and keep working, I knew things would eventually turn for me.”
On what he sees in himself, physically or mentally, that he might not have been able to do earlier in the season:
“I think just the little things that matter throughout the course of a game, especially when you’re in conference play or playing against really good teams. Can’t leave anything on the table. Because a lot of our games come down to a couple of possession, one or two, it can be a play in the first quarter you didn’t check down, you didn’t come over, you didn’t talk, something like that and you might lose the game by one but that play in the first five minutes of the game is ultimately why you lost the game. So, I think for all of us that’s just something that we’ve all tried to take account more. Just not having little tiny mistakes throughout the course of the game that add up to be really big things.”
The Blue Devils have a tough task against the Hokies Saturday. Hunter Cattoor has been a Blue Devil killer for a couple of years now but he is not their only weapon. Grant Basile has emerged as a verified offensive threat both inside and out. Basile has scored in double figures in 12 straight
games and has broken the 20-point mark in six of the last nine contests. The 6’9 grad student is averaging 22.4 points per game over the last nine. So as dangerous as Cattoor has been Basile may be more of a concern. It will be interesting to see who the Blue Devils use to guard Basile. Mark Mitchell seems like a likely candidate but I could see them using any of their other bigs as well. Making both Basile and Cattoor have to work hard on the defensive end would be a good way to possibly curtail their effectiveness.
Guarding the perimeter, limiting turnovers and rebounding the basketball as effectively as they have all year are the recipes for a win. The last meeting saw the Blue Devils score more points in the paint, more points off of turnovers and more second chance points. The Difference in the game was defense. The Blue Devils allowed the Hokies to shoot over 57% from the field and over 52% from 3. Defense will rule the day.