It may have taken until December 12, but it looks like the Duke basketball team the nation was expecting finally showed up. Duke took care of a sneakily dangerous Hofstra (6-3) team that came into the game shooting 39-percent from 3-point range with the 5th leading scorer in the country, Tyler Thomas.
Thomas did not disappoint, finishing 8-of-16 from the field and 2-of-5 from 3-point land for 18 points. Hofstra came out swinging scoring the first points of the game in the paint and following up with a Jeremy Roach blocked runner. Duke has struggled out of the gates throughout the year and was tied at the first 16-minute media timeout.
A statistic that has gone partially under the radar so far this season is the rate at which this Duke team gets blocked. Coming into the game they were the worst Power-5 team in the country, ranked 321st in offensive block percentage at 12.6-percent. This is a troubling stat as Duke’s guards, and even at times their bigs, get blocked with ease when attempting to finish at the rim.
This game had a few Duke traditions we had not seen yet this year including the patented end of 1st half run to take a 5-point lead into halftime.
Duke picked up where they left off and was able to pull away midway through the second half to cruise to a 21-point win. Duke’s offense has left a lot to be desired thus far in the season and they showed up in full force tonight led by Kyle Filipowski’s 28-point, 12-rebound double-double effort.
Filipowski was impressive on both ends but was moving with a different pace and urgency on the offensive end. He was able to get in and out of the ball screen action quicker than we’ve seen throughout the year which led to simple plays with him being able to catch and score at the rim.
With Duke adding in their traditional continuous side ball screen, back door offensive set Filipowski was able to make plays on the perimeter including a few pick-and-pop 3-pointers which opened up Duke’s offense.
Jeremy Roach continues to be on an offensive tear the last 5 games: 19.5 points per (54-percent from the field and 61-percent from 3point range)
Duke will need Roach and Filipowski to continue to lead the way offensively as Duke finds it’s rotations, especially without Proctor. Duke finished with 22 assists on the night, they had 22 assists total in their games against Georgia Tech and Arkansas combined.
This was a tale of two halves from the defensive standpoint, while Duke’s defense was nonexistent in the first half, they got it together in the second half forcing 14 turnovers and holding Hofstra to 4-of-11 from 3-point range.
Duke was able to score 20 of its 31 points off turnovers in the 2nd half. This is such an important aspect of this team's success the rest of the year, can they hurry teams up by creating turnovers and getting out in the open floor for quick and easy baskets.
Duke gets an 8-day break before their last non-conference test of the season at Madison Square Garden against a Top-10 team in Baylor.