After a comfortable home win over Boston College, No. 9 Duke finishes its home game Monday night against Wake Forest. In a tight first half, the Blue Devils hold a narrow 29-27 lead over the Demon Deacons:
A botched start
The energy was high at the start of this highly anticipated ACC game as both teams looked to push in transition. The result, however, was a rushed play that resulted in four total team fouls on both teams and three early Duke turnovers in the first five minutes. Nonetheless, the Blue Devils’ efficient 3-point shooting allowed them to quickly extend their lead, with senior guard Jeremy Roach and sophomore center Kyle Filipowski knocking down shots from distance.
In Filipowski’s last outing against Boston College, he started slowly – lacking energy and intensity in a first half where the Eagles hung on to the Blue Devils. Monday night, the sophomore’s energy couldn’t be more different. The first possession brought a Filipowski triple, and as the half wore on, he continued to be aggressive, including a spin finish in traffic and a loud block on the other end. In his first eight minutes, Filipowski had five points on 2-of-3 shooting.
The misfortunes of filming Wake
Entering tonight’s game, Wake Forest was second in the ACC in scoring, but on Monday night, its offensive execution couldn’t have been any different. The Demon Deacons started a glacial 0 of 11 from deep and 21.7% overall, with their first score coming from Damari Monsanto at 8:10 and a second less than a minute later. Nonetheless, as the game progressed, Duke’s offense wasn’t much better, and although shooting 28.2% from the field, Wake Forest managed to tie the game at 16 apiece with a little less than eight minutes to play and staying close for the rest of the half. .
Reid’s early foul trouble
After the under-eight timeout, the referees correctly re-assigned a Wake Forest foul to the Demon Deacons’ 7-foot center Efton Reid III. Reid entered Monday’s game averaging 8.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, an important part of Wake Forest’s interior defense. Immediately after his absence, Filipowski hit a mid-range jumper, then found sophomore forward Mark Mitchell on a sharp slam. After leaving the game, Reid would not return for the remainder of the half, depriving the Demon Deacons of his interior presence on both ends.
Player of the half: Mark Mitchell
Through the first 20 games, Mitchell’s consistency on both ends was key to Duke’s two-point lead heading into the second half. With 7 points on 3-7 shots, Mitchell’s performance was revealing of all his strengths. He cut, finished at the rim and played solid defense against guards and forwards. Alongside Filipowski, Duke’s two forwards played key roles in extending the Blue Devil’s lead to seven, regardless of their below-average distance shooting (3 of 14).
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