Duke basketball: Familiar face stands between semifinal berth

Jeff Capel coaches against the Duke basketball team (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Jeff Capel coaches against the Duke basketball team (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

A familiar face will be standing between the Duke basketball team and the ACC semifinals. 

Winning in the  postseason is never easy but things might be more challenging for the Duke basketball team on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of ACC Tournament.

Wednesday afternoon proved to be interesting for the Blue Devils as 13-seed Georgia Tech took 5-seed Pittsburgh down to the wire during the second round of conference tournament before the Panthers were able to prevail after seeing a 13-point halftime lead vanish.

The victory gives Pittsburgh a date with 4-seed Duke on Thursday for the second time this season, but more importantly pins Panthers head coach Jeff Capel against Duke head coach Jon Scheyer.

Both played for the Blue Devils during their college careers and were on the coaching staff of Mike Krzyzewski from 2014-2018, winning the 2015 National Championship.

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Now, they will meet for the second time this season with the stakes as high as ever.

Pittsburgh briefly saw Georgia Tech take a two point lead, 52-50, and stay within striking distance until the Panthers put the game away at the free throw line.

However, Duke trailed the Pittsburgh by 11 points, 43-32, at halftime of its only other matchup of the season on January 11 before outscoring the Panthers by 19 points in the second half to win, 77-69.

Pittsburgh was out-rebounded, 51-28, in Cameron Indoor Stadium and held to 27.3-percent shooting from 3-point range.

Duke basketball completely different team since first meeting

The biggest outlier between Thursday afternoon and January 11 was that the Blue Devils did not have Jeremy Roach as he continued to rehab from a toe injury.

Roach is averaging 14.4 points per game since his return and in Duke’s six game winning streak the junior captain is posting 14.8 points per contest.

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Jaylen Blakes also logged 20 minutes off the bench, missing all five of his shots, in replace of Roach and did not scoring a single point as the sophomore has not played meaningful minutes in over a month.

Typically, Kyle Filipowski led the way with 28 points and 15 rebounds.

Jeff Capel has a 1-4 record against Duke since becoming the head coach of the Panthers.

Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 2:30p.m. ET (ESPN).

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