Duke basketball freshmen shoulder load in conference debut

Duke basketball freshman Dereck Lively (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball freshman Dereck Lively (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball freshmen led the Blue Devils in its conference opener. 

The beginning of December brings the challenge of conference play to the Duke basketball team and the No. 17 Blue Devils were up for the task on Saturday afternoon despite a slow start.

Struggling Boston College (5-4) graced the floor inside Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Eagles were within a point of Duke, 17-16, with 8:50 to go before halftime as the Blue Devils rattled off a 18-7 run going into the locker room seize control of the game, 35-23, and never looked back.

Jon Scheyer saw his team limit Boston College to just two field goals over that time period as Duke would continue to pull away, winning 75-59.

It is the sixth time this season Duke (8-2) has not allowed its opponent to score 65 points or more in a game.

However, perhaps the most encouraging sign from the victory was the play of the freshmen class in their ACC debuts as forward Kyle Filipowski led the way, registering another double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

ALSO READ: Jayson Tatum shines in front of royalty

Mark Mitchell, who posted less than four points in three of his last four games, led the way for Duke with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting as the Kansas City, Kansas native scored eight consecutive points in the second half, six coming via the 3-pointer.

Mitchell put an exclamation point on his night, and his run, with a backdoor two-hand flush with 3:10 left in the second half.

Dereck Lively followed up his career night against No. 25 Ohio State with eight points and two rebounds in just 19 minutes while Tyrese Proctor added nine points and Dariq Whitehead chipped in six for the Blue Devils.

Duke freshmen scored 51 of its 75 points on Saturday as Scheyer hopes the development of the star studded class begins to accelerate as the games become bigger and more important for Duke in the next few months.

Duke basketball transfer makes major impact

The freshmen will be the talk of the game but the improved play of Illinois transfer Jacob Grandison against Boston College after he posted 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor, 2-of-4 from 3-point range, along with six rebounds and three assists.

Grandison also had a productive outing against the Buckeyes with nine points after he only scored a combined four points in three games during the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament.

Duke needs the veteran and shooting presence of the newcomer to open up the offense and allow room for the forwards to work in the paint and wings to drive to the basket.

The Blue Devils will travel to New York City for the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night (9:30p.m. ET, ESPN2) against the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1).

Time to worry about Dereck Lively, Dariq Whitehead?. dark. Next