Duke basketball cruises in opener but major surprise announced pregame

Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team cruised in its season opening victory against Dartmouth. 

There was very little drama on the court for the Duke basketball program in its season opening victory against Dartmouth on Monday night inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The No. 2 Blue Devils, picked to finish at the top of the ACC standings, dispatched its opponent from the Ivy League, 92-54, and the 22-point lead it built at halftime was plenty for Jon Scheyer to empty his bench in the second half.

However, that bench was one man short as Mark Mitchell missed his second consecutive game, dating back to last season.

Duke announced it would be without its starting small forward an hour before tipoff with a “lower-body injury” and is considered “day-to-day.”

Mitchell did not have any protective gear on his leg or foot and appeared to be walking without a limp.

The ACC Network broadcast said that the injury was a sprained ankle, which was confirmed by Jon Scheyer following the game.

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The news of Mitchell’s injury came as a major surprise considering college basketball insider Jeff Goodman posted injury reports on every team in the country throughout Monday afternoon and he did not list anyone that would be out for the Blue Devils.

Duke basketball does not skip a beat with key piece missing

Ryan Young started in place of Mark Mitchell and registered two points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a block in 19 minutes of action.

While the Blue Devils did not have one of its four returning starters against Dartmouth, it was two other returnees stealing the show as preseason All-American Kyle Filipowski went 10-of-12 from the field for 25 points and seven rebounds and Jeremy Roach added 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

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Filipowski even showed off his improved shooting range by making one of his two attempts from 3-point territory.

The scoring outputs are somewhat expected from the veteran players but freshman guard Caleb Foster shined in his collegiate debut with 15 points and junior guard Jaylen Blakes made his case for more playing time with 10 points on a perfect shooting night off the bench.

Duke might not have needed Mark Mitchell to defeat Dartmouth but they will certainly need him against No. 12 Arizona on Friday night (7:00p.m. ET, ESPN2) in Durham.

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