When the Panthers jumped out to a double-digit lead against the Blue Devils, at the 9:35 of the first half on a jumper from Jamarius Burton, the story looked to be a similar one to the game at NC State. The Blue Devils battled back to trim the lead to 2 with 3:43 left before the break. Unfortunately a 9-0 run from Pitt to end the half sent the Blue Devils to the locker room down by 11 with work to do. Kyle Filipowski paced the Blue Devils in the first half with 12 points on 4-5 shooting, keeping the Blue Devils in the game. The Blue Devils were their own worst enemy turning the ball over 12 times in the first half and when they were able to actually get shots only shot it 30% from the field whereas Pitt was on fire in the first half at 56.7% from the field.
The Blue Devils came out a different team only turning the ball over 5 times in the second half and using a 18-4 run to wrestle a lead from Pitt that they would never relinquish on their way to a 77-69 win. The Blue Devils overcame multiple double-digit deficits in the game and showed resilience against the Panthers skill on offense.
Duke played with renewed vigor, feeding off of the crowd and keyed by some spectacular individual efforts. Ryan Young dove on the floor for a loose ball, securing it which led to Duke free throws. Dereck Lively also had a couple of spectacular defensive stops defending on the perimeter, one leading to a turnover and a Duke fast break. Lively also had one of the plays of the game offensively corralling an errant pass and passing it to a charging Filipowski for a dunks before falling out of bounds to give Duke a 4 point lead at the 8:45 mark of the second half.
Tyrese Proctor was huge for the Blue Devils in the role of point guard in relief of Jeremy Roach. The Aussie freshman scored 14 points, going 5-of-5 at the free throw line and finished with five assists and no turnovers in 27 minutes. Freshman Kyle Filipowski scored a career-high 28 points and tied a career-high with 15 rebounds for his seventh double-double this season and his first 20-10 double-double. Filipowski finished 11-of-13 at the free throw line, marking the most makes and attempts by any Blue Devil in a game this season.
Freshman Mark Mitchell scored 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds while going 6-of-6 at the free throw line. Graduate Ryan Young scored seven points and pulled 10 rebounds, including a team-high seven on the offensive glass. It marked his seventh career 10-rebound game, including fourth this season.
The Blue Devils owned the glass against the Panthers out-rebounding Pitt 51-28 using that advantage to score 19 second chance points.
Duke plays at Clemson on Saturday, Jan. 14. The game tips at 5 p.m. on ACC Network.
DUKE HEAD COACH JON SCHEYER
On the passing of former Duke track & field head coach and Duke Hall of Famer Al Buehler:
“First of all, before I talk about this game, I just want to send my love and thoughts to Al Buehler and his family. I had a class my freshman year with Al, and I remember his office in the corner of Cameron. We’d talk all sports – he’d obviously tell me about his history – but we’d talk the game of basketball. He was a great man, a great person for Duke University. My thoughts are with him and his family.
“Obviously tonight was a really tough ACC game. Jeff [Capel] had his team really ready to play, they compete. They’re really together. I thought they made some really difficult shots that knocked us back in the first half, and I’m just really proud of our team, the way we fought and competed in the second half. That, to me, is what it’s all about, being a Duke Basketball player, being a Duke Basketball team. Our rebounding was huge, and I thought in the second half our switching and our defense – I don’t know what the exact numbers were, but we held them to 10 or so points for a while there in the second half. Proud of the effort, I thought everybody on our team stepped up. The foul trouble was tough late, trying to figure out when to go back with guys. Fortunately for us, we’ve had players that are ready at all times to come off the bench and step up.”
On the decision to start switching on defense and why it was such an effective strategy:
“They’ve been giving people problems in pick-and-roll. They space you really well, they have many guys that can create off the bounce. So when you put two on the ball, they get you in rotations and it’s very difficult. They do a great job of sharing it. For us, with our personnel, we felt like this was actually going to be a coming out game for Dereck [Lively] because we’ve envisioned switching with him, and he made some big time plays in this game. His switching, I thought, really bothered them. Naturally, you try to go at the 5, but we felt like there was an advantage for us. You know, coaches coming up with a game plan – we’ll see if this is something we do often or not, but to have that in our pocket is a valuable thing. Instead of them running offense, they end up playing one-on-one. Sometimes they’re going to hit, but other times, if we stay disciplined, it’s tough to make those shots over our length.”
On the difference that Tyrese Proctor makes when he’s on the floor:
“Well, he’s [Tyrese Proctor] done a great job of just running the team. He’s really easy to play with. He obviously made some big scoring plays down the stretch, but when your guard has five assists and no turnovers that’s pretty good. He just makes it easy for other guys, I think that’s the biggest thing that he does. He had a calming influence, and his plus-minus was really good. He’s in control of the team, I think that’s the biggest thing that he did, and he really competed and guarded on the defensive end.”
On Kyle Filipowski’s 28-point, 15-rebound performance:
“Flip [Kyle Filipowski] was great tonight. He hasn’t played as well, and he’s been a difference maker for us when he’s at his peak. It’s a game changer. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense, obviously, the way he can attack the basket. It’s good for him to see a three go down tonight, because we still feel like those are great shots for us and we want him shooting those. Just his determination on the boards – to have 15 rebounds against them; they’ve been right there, statistically, rebounding, with other teams. For Flip to do that against a veteran team like them is a big deal.
On the crowd’s energy in Cameron tonight and how to take energy to road games:
“I thought it was just a vintage Cameron night. I thought the crowd was special. There were a few times the whole place was standing. I’m talking to the team in the huddle – it was the first time in Cameron where the team couldn’t hear me. There’s been many moments with Coach K where that’s happened where somebody’s two feet away and you can’t hear. We got to that level tonight. I’ll tell you, for me, for our guys especially, for all of us as a team, it makes a difference when our fans show up, which they always do. I thought they were at such a high level tonight. As a group, we’re going to have to fight for everything, and I want everybody that’s in the building to feel they’re a part of that fight, because they are. They did a lot for us, and obviously how we have to translate it to the road – we have to bring our own energy. Something we did against Boston College – you have to handle runs that other teams make. I think that’s naturally the next step for us, to do it on the road.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD KYLE FILIPOWSKI
“Yes, I did play well but it was just so fun to be with my brothers out there. A bunch of other guys stepped up great at key moments of the game, too, and I was just feeding my energy off of them. We all were just reciprocating the energy. We just wanted to get this [win]. We were starting to take things more personal after all the battles we’ve been through, and I think that showed tonight but we’ve got to keep that going now. We can be a fantastic team if we play like that.”
On what head coach Jon Scheyer said to the team at halftime:
“I think a big thing was just turnovers in the first half for us. [Reducing the turnovers] gave us a lot more shot attempts in the second half. And also, just our defense – we let up around 40 points in the first half. That wasn’t really our type of defense. I don’t know how [many points] we let up in the second half, but it wasn’t nearly as much. That also turned into offense for us. We were all on the same page tonight and it was a really good win overall.”
“We’ve just got to build off this now. We know how great of a team we can be. We know we still have a lot better things to do as well, like take care of the ball a little better, and things like that. This is a just a little sneak peak of the potential we have and how good all of us can be.”
FRESHMAN GUARD TYRESE PROCTOR
“Especially with Jeremy [Roach] being out, on court I’ve got to be the leader – I’m playing point guard. He’s still impacting us off the court, grabbing guys through little bits of the game and just talking to us. But when I’m on the floor, I’m going to be the most vocal to everyone and just try to get everyone on the same page. The main message I was giving to them was don’t give up and keep fighting.”
On the play of the Duke freshmen tonight:
“Everyone’s saying we’re all soft and all young, but we don’t let that slide and we wanted to come out and prove everyone a point – that we can hang with everyone and we can play the way we want to play. Everyone around the country’s talking about our age and how young we are, [teams] trying to out-tough us and be more physical with us, but we hear that and we just take it on and use it to build confidence. We came out and wanted to prove a point and I thought we did.”
“It was crazy. We just fed off the Crazies and the crowd tonight. It was a great atmosphere and I’m happy we got the win.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD DARIQ WHITEHEAD
“It’s the first day of class, the Crazies came back, so we fed off that energy and it was huge for us. I honestly feel like they changed the game, really.”
“We’ve just got to continue to grow in practice, limit the turnovers. I feel like if we just continue to play as a team and just continue to share the ball, then the sky’s the limit for this team.”
When asked if this game felt like a turning point for this Duke team:
“It should be a turning point for the team. Just us seeing how well we share the ball together, I feel like it should be huge for this team. That should continue down the road.”
PITT HEAD COACH JEFF CAPEL
“First and foremost, I want to congratulate Duke. They were outstanding tonight. I thought they played really, really hard, and obviously, they dominated the glass. That really was the difference in the game. It is very rarely that you see when a team shoots 22 percent from the three, that they win. They did that because of the way they dominated the second half. I thought they played really, really hard. Obviously, [Kyle] Filipowski’s an outstanding player and he had a monster night tonight. We couldn’t keep him off the glass. That was an area we were concerned about coming into this game. We understood that they’ve been the best offensive rebounding team in this league, in conference play, and really one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. We didn’t do a good job. All the 50-50 balls, in the second half, we really didn’t offensive rebound the whole game, but all that stuff in the second half, we went through a long stretch where we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. Congrats to them. It’s something we’ll learn from. We’ll get better, and we look forward to the next one.”
On how Duke limited Pitt’s scoring in the second half:
“They [Duke] switched, they switched everything. They really did a great job of using their size and length to contest shots. Some of the shots that we were making in the first half didn’t even start the second half. We just missed them. We got some good looks, I thought we got a little bit stagnant, really trying to attack a matchup that we did in the first half. Their length, they’re big, you read about it, and you look at the programs and things like that, when you get out there, and you see the size of [Dariq] Whitehead, [Mark] Mitchell, Filipowski, [Dereck] Lively comes in, those guys can cover a lot of ground and clean up a lot of stuff. “
On Kyle Filipowski’s impact on the floor tonight:
“Well, I don’t think he’s a big guy. I think he’s a tall guy. But I don’t think he’s a post player. He’s just a really good basketball player. They do a great job of moving him around to different spots. He posts at times. He drove us, obviously, he was a monster on the glass. He’s very, very talented. I saw him a lot in high school, but he’s gotten so much better since he’s been here. And tonight, he was he was the best player on the floor.”
On how the ACC should be viewed this season:
“I think our league is really good. I think our league is the most disrespected good league in the country. And I hate when, especially people that are doing our games, talk like it’s not good. We heard that all last year, and all we had was two teams in the Final Four, another team in the Elite Eight. I think our league is really good. It may not be as top heavy as it was when I first took the Pitt job and you had three number one seeds overall, number one seeds in the NCAA tournament, but it’s a really, really good league. I wish people would really respect it across the country like we do as coaches. It’s really talented players, really good coaches, great home court environments, great passionate fan bases. And we go out and we win, especially when we get to the tournament. We’ve proven that year in and year out. I don’t think we’re recalibrating. There are different faces. Obviously, you don’t have the quote-unquote legend with Coach [Mike Krzyzewski], and with Coach [Roy] Williams, but you have really good coaches that have been in this league and have had been in coaching for a while. Coach [Jim] Larrañaga, Leonard Hamilton, obviously Tony [Bennett] is a championship coach. We have really good coaches, really good players, and I think it’s a very good league.”