The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils aim to get back in the win column on Friday when they host Delaware in Durham, N.C.
Duke (2-1) is coming off its first loss of the season — and the first of rookie head coach Jon Scheyer’s tenure — after falling 69-64 to reigning national champions Kansas on Tuesday night in Indianapolis, Ind.
The No. 6 Jayhawks shot 46.3 percent from the floor and forced the Blue Devils into 18 turnovers.
Scheyer called the loss a “big-time learning experience” for his group, which includes seven freshmen and four transfers.
“I thought our guys showed great heart, great resiliency in that second half to gain the lead. And really made some big-time plays,” Scheyer said. “But overall, those possessions add up through 40 minutes, where you have 18 turnovers. I mean, that’s obviously a big stat right there and just valuing and taking care of the ball. But a lot to learn from this.”
Duke was led by freshman Kyle Filipowski, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Filipowski is the first Duke player to start his career with three consecutive double-doubles.
Jeremy Roach — the lone returning starter from last season’s team that went to the Final Four — had 16 points and four rebounds.
The Blue Devils made just 3-of-21 shots from behind the arc — a horrendous 14.3 percent mark. That’s the worst Duke has shot from 3-point land since a neutral-site win over Kentucky last November.
It’s clear that, just like last season, this Duke team has some growing pains to go through.
“There’s no question that’s the best form of learning,” Scheyer said. “Just being in these moments, there’s no way to simulate it. That doesn’t mean I’m happy or I’m enjoying this loss by any means. You have to hate it and learn from it, grow from it. But playing in the Champions Classic every year, of course you want to come away winning, but you probably learn more when you lose.”
Aside from Filipowski and Roach, Mark Mitchell is the other Blue Devils averaging double-digits in scoring with 12.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
Highly touted freshman Dariq Whitehead has yet to suit up for the Blue Devils this season as he’s recovering from preseason foot surgery. Scheyer said Tuesday that Whitehead is “progressing,” but he “probably” won’t play Friday.
That’s good news for Delaware (1-1), which lost its only game this season against a Division I opponent, falling 75-71 at Air Force on Nov. 11.
The Blue Hens allowed the Falcons to shoot 47.2 percent from the floor, and Delaware sent Air Force to the free throw line 25 times. Jameer Nelson Jr. led Delaware in the loss with 18 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists.
Against the Blue Devils, Delaware could be at a disadvantage on the boards. The Blue Hens don’t have anyone on their roster taller than 6-foot-9. Meanwhile, Duke has five.
“That’s who we are right now,” Blue Hens coach Martin Ingelsby told the Delaware News Journal. “We got to try to figure it out. I think we can be more efficient offensively and maybe weather a little bit inside, a little stuff on the backboard, but we’ll see.”
This is the first time Delaware has faced an ACC team since a 2017 matchup with Notre Dame.
–Field Level Media