Moving right along after a disappointing result seems to be the right tonic for No. 8 Duke.
The Blue Devils (3-1) have another chance to smooth out some rough edges Monday night when they face visiting Bellarmine (2-2) in Durham, N.C.
After losing Tuesday to Kansas in Indianapolis, Duke jumped back in the win column with Friday night’s 92-58 romp past visiting Delaware.
“I’m really proud of the response and effort from our team,” Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer said.
Duke looks like a more complete unit now that freshman Dariq Whitehead has played his first college game following a broken foot in August.
“It might not have been the best performance but he’s getting there and it’s great to see him back out on the court,” classmate Kyle Filipowski said.
Whitehead should become more fluid once he gets in more game action. The goal was to have him play about 15 minutes and that was achieved. He scored six points on 3-of-11 shooting against Delaware.
“He hasn’t even had a week of practice under his belt,” Scheyer said. “We knew there would be some rust, but I think you can see his athleticism, his body, and he’s really a smart player.”
Now if all the players stay healthy, the Blue Devils will move closer to having a full roster ready to go.
Duke freshmen are continuing to make impacts in various ways.
The Blue Devils liked seeing a double-double from guard Tyrese Proctor with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“My big men were boxing out,” Proctor said. “I’m just getting their scraps.”
Bellarmine takes on its third Atlantic Coast Conference opponent of the season. It topped Louisville during the opening week of the season and then fell 76-66 on Friday night at Clemson.
“A winning effort,” Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport said of the performance.
For the Knights this stopover at Duke will be the first of three games against teams currently in the top 10 before the end of November.
The key for Bellarmine is limiting or avoiding sequences that benefit teams like Duke when they score on multiple possessions in a rapid-fire manner.
“That’s tough to overcome on the road against an ACC opponent,” Davenport said.
And now there’s more of that coming for the Knights to deal with.
“Now we have to go play the best offensive rebounding team maybe I’ve ever seen in my career,” he said. “Is there a better way in the world to get better?”
The Knights practiced Sunday at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Knights played in the building in a loss on Dec. 4, 2020, but it was an empty gym because of the pandemic. This will be a different atmosphere.
Duke has handled defensive situations generally well, particularly against teams it is expected to beat at home. Yet there’s always a degree of uncertainty with a largely new roster and how that’s going to mesh.
“I thought we did a much better job of being disciplined, controlling the ball, and having an awareness for protecting our rim,” Scheyer said.
–Field Level Media