Five takeaways from Duke men’s basketball’s 7-0 victory over Virginia Tech

Overcoming nervousness on the road
The Blue Devils started to settle into the tough conditions at Cassell Coliseum following a sluggish start that saw the Hokies take an early lead. The catalyst for the comeback was freshman guard Caleb Foster, who made two three-pointers in a row to give Duke its first lead of the game at 14-13 during the first media break.

From then, the Blue Devils immediately warmed up, going on a 10-0 scoring spree and making 5 of 8 field goals during that time. After battling its way into the game, Duke never let the advantage back and entered the locker room ahead by six points. But the Blue Devils made things difficult for themselves by allowing Virginia Tech to go on an 8-0 run to end the first half before the timer went off. Ever the hero, senior guard Jeremy Roach used a last-second three-pointer to hush the home crowd before the half.

Filipowski and Roach start to recover
Monday night, veterans Roach and Kyle Filipowski appeared to find their rhythm again after laboring against Clemson on Saturday. For his part, Filipowski scored six points in the first half, including a huge dunk off a fast break just over three minutes in following a Hokie turnover. Despite playing off the bench while recuperating from an ankle injury, Roach had an early impact in the first half thanks to a driving layup and a 3-point jumper. Tyrese Proctor and Mark Mitchell, two more veterans, joined in the fun as well; in the last five minutes, Mitchell scored two dunks.

First-year students participate
The freshmen turned in a standout performance against the Hokies early on, helping the Blue Devils rally from an early deficit. Before guard Jared McCain entered the game, Foster put in the grunt work in the first few minutes with back-to-back triples. After securing the offensive rebound and displaying his trademark hustle with a jumper, the Sacramento, California, native gave graduate center Ryan Young the opportunity for a second-chance layup. In addition to receiving some excellent playing time, forward Sean Stewart—one of the “Freshman Four”—made an influence.

battling on the defensive to begin
The Hokies’ rapid play and ball movement appeared to have taken the Blue Devils off guard in the first few minutes of the game, as they appeared to be out of rhythm defensively. Early on, Virginia Tech’s deadly potential was obvious as a wide open It took Lynn Kidd less than two minutes to score an easy slam. Soon later, teammate Hunter Cattoor received another unprotected glimpse as he dunk off a cut inside. When unchecked, the Hokies posed an equal threat from beyond the arc, with MJ Collins finding himself free for a triple.

However, when they became accustomed to playing in hostile surroundings, the Blue Devils’ renowned defensive prowess emerged. For six minutes in the first half, the Durham team prevented Virginia Tech from scoring a field goal. However, the Hokies were not to be defeated, as they maintained a single-digit lead for the majority of the second half. Before the buzzer, Duke committed eight turnovers, with Mitchell being responsible for all but two of them.

Caleb Foster was the halftime player.

Foster was locked in early on Monday night, leading the team with eight points at halftime after a few quite quiet games. The Harrisburg, North Carolina, native opened his night with two 3-pointers to keep the Blue Devils within a point of the Hokies while his teammates at first battled to find their rhythm. Along with his two assists in the first twenty minutes, he demonstrated his versatility as a member of Duke’s deep backcourt.

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