Duke basketball freshman makes major assertion in commanding victory

Duke basketball freshman Dereck Lively (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball freshman Dereck Lively (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team is beginning to look whole once again. 

There was a major addition to the Duke basketball roster on Friday night as Dereck Lively II took the floor for the first time this season after suffering a calf injury in the preseason.

Lively was held out of the Blue Devils’ season opening victory against Jacksonville but head coach Jon Scheyer said after that game that he liked the chances the top ranked recruit had at suiting up against USC Upstate.

The 7-foot-1 center came off the bench, still somewhat bothered by his calf ailment, but clearly showcased what he can do on the basketball court with blocked shots and running the floor seamlessly.

Lively logged 16 minutes and was 2-of-2 from the floor, both dunks, for four points, two rebounds, and two blocks.

“Really happy with Dereck being able to play 15 minutes. His biggest thing is just getting back in game shape,” Scheyer said following the 84-38 victory.

“You know, he has a live body. Got those dunks running the floor. That’s something he can really do, and it allows us to play very fast.”

Duke basketball stuns with defensive intensity

The Blue Devils (2-0) did not get off to a good start as the team came out of the locker room flat and lethargic as USC Upstate (1-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Duke regrouped during a timeout and put its defensive enforcers on the floor in Jaylen Blakes and Jacob Grandison.

Duke would then outscore the Spartans 43-11 in the first half and 84-31 for the rest of the game.

“I thought Jacob Grandison and Jaylen Blakes’, the energy that they brought and the defensive intensity. They really sparked us,” Scheyer explained.

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“From there we were off and running.”

Five different Blue Devils reached double-figures as the team was led by the second straight double-double by Kyle Filipowski with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Dariq Whitehead (foot) was inactive for the second straight game for Duke.

The competition will take a step up for the Blue Devils on Tuesday night (November 15) as Duke travels to Indianapolis to challenge the defending champion Kansas Jayhawks (2-0) in the State Farm Champions Classic (9:30p.m., ESPN).

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