Duke basketball looks young but promising in battle with Kansas

Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team showed promise but also youth against Kansas. 

It was an ugly start and an ugly finish for the Duke basketball team against No. 7 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic, but the Blue Devils showed promise throughout the second half.

The Jayhawks (3-0) jumped out to a 19-8 lead, thanks to an early 12-0 run, but the inexperienced No. 6 Blue Devils were slowly able to settle into the action and trail by only four at halftime in what felt like an opening stanza dominated by Kansas.

However, the Jayhawks finished the game on a 15-5 run in the final four minutes exposing the youth and inexperience of the Blue Devils (2-1), falling 69-64.

Duke outscored Kansas 51-35 in the other segments of the game as Kyle Filipowski was a star with 17 points and 14 rebounds, becoming the first Duke player ever to start his career with three consecutive double-doubles.

The Blue Devils’ lead grew to six on multiple occasions in the second half but the team was never able to build on its momentum due to timeouts, lineup changes, and questionable non-continuation calls.

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Jeremy Roach, Duke’s junior captain, committed a clear offensive foul with 1:24 left and Duke within a point of Kansas and missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:07 remaining and the Blue Devils trailing by three.

Roach ended with 16 points, four rebounds, and only one assist on 6-of-17 shooting from the floor and connecting on just 1-of-5 shots from 3-point range.

As a team, Duke was only 3-of-21 from beyond the arc, dished out just eight assists on 24 made field goals, and committed 18 turnovers leading to 19 Kansas points as there is obvious room for improvement from the Blue Devils.

Kansas abused freshman center Dereck Lively, who is still rounding into form after missing the last three weeks due to a calf injury, in pick-and-rolls as the 7-foot-1 big man looked lost outside of the paint on the defensive end of the floor.

Duke basketball looks young late in defeat

The Blue Devils appeared like they would run through the finish line midway through the second half against Kansas but the Jayhawk veterans made the youngsters of Duke look like what they were, freshmen.

Duke has a talented core of freshmen, although Dariq Whitehead remained out on Tuesday night as he still recovers from foot surgery in August, but there was no Paolo Banchero, Zion Williamson, or Marvin Bagley III available to this team that could mask the youth of the other players on the floor with their talent.

The potential is abundant from this roster, it just will take time for the players to gel on the court and get the valuable experience needed at this level of basketball.

However, the most concerning sign against Kansas was the poor execution and shot selection from Jeremy Roach in the final three minutes of the game, outside of his 3-pointer to give Duke a one point lead.

It was a learning experience for everyone on the Duke roster, including the rookie head coach, but the team can takeaway the fact that they were minutes away from beating Kansas without playing its best game or its best player.

The Blue Devils return to the court on Friday night against Delaware (1-1) inside Cameron Indoor Stadium (7:00p.m.. RSN).