Despite a horrible shooting performance against Oregon State, No. 8 Duke showed that it could win.
The Blue Devils would like an improved offensive outing against Xavier on Friday in the semifinals of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Portland, Ore.
Xavier didn’t have problems on offense in the first round, racking up a 90-83 victory against Florida by shooting 55.9 percent from the field and placing all five starters in double-figure points.
Duke (5-1) is probably envious of that performance after surviving a 54-51 tussle with Oregon State in Thursday’s first game.
“You have to find a way to gut it out, and proud of figuring out a way to win,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “That’s what our program has been about. We need to continue to figure out how to do that.”
Duke edged Oregon State despite shooting 26.7 percent from the field. That’s the lowest rate in a victory in team history. The Blue Devils struggled against a zone defense.
“I just think it’s a different look for us,” guard Jeremy Roach said. “We knew they were going to throw some crazy stuff at us, go zone for half the shot clock and then switch to man.”
Friday’s game could bring something new to address.
“The thing about this tournament, you have to turn the page very quickly,” Scheyer said.
Freshman Kyle Filipowski has been Duke’s leading scorer in five games, including his season-best 19 points to go with 14 rebounds Thursday.
“He’s a competitor though, he’s a gamer,” Scheyer said. “I’m not surprised by what he did. The thing I love the most is his defense.”
Xavier (4-1) has scored at least 78 points in every game. The lone loss for the Musketeers was a two-point setback to nationally ranked Indiana.
“We just learned that we’re a resilient team,” guard Souley Boum said of the outcome against Florida. “We’re a really good team, just have to come out and play the right way.”
Colby Jones and Boum, a transfer from UTEP, both had 22 points for Xavier in the Florida game. For Jones, a junior guard, it was a career-high total.
“We knew how to win in the end,” Jones said. “I think that’s what made the difference.”
The Musketeers have shot better than 50 percent in four games. They’re excited about the chance to match up with Duke.
“We’re ready for the challenge, so I’m looking forward to the game,” Jones said. “We’re a tough, hard-nosed team.”
Scheyer said he hopes Duke’s depth is a bonus as the tournament unfolds. He said key situations against Oregon State might have called for different player groupings that will be used in other situations.
“With our team, we feel that depth is a huge strength of ours,” he said. “That may mean we close out games differently than we start. Or depending on how the game goes, somebody has it really going.”
Duke is 4-0 all-time in the Portland event, winning its division in the inaugural 2017 tournament.
–Field Level Media