Duke Basketball: 3 takeaways from needed home win over Pittsburgh

After a rough start, Duke Basketball was able to dominate the second half to get a win over Pittsburgh. Here are the takeaways from their comeback.

After getting blown out against NC State and barely beating Boston College last week, Duke Basketball had a tough game at home against Pittsburgh, who was second in the ACC standings. It looked that way early on, as the Panthers had an 11-point halftime lead.

But to the Blue Devils’ credit, they were able to muster a big comeback, with a 19-2 run to take the lead and keep it the rest of the way for the 77-69 victory to move to 14-3 overall and 4-2 in ACC play. Here are the takeaways from the game for the team.

Filipowski’s big night

The star of the game was the five-star freshman center Kyle Filipowski, who went for a season-high 28 points and 15 rebounds on 8/14 shooting and 11/13 from the free throw line. He was dominant all game, with the Panthers only able to throw 6’7 Blake Hinson or 6’6 Nate Santos on him at the four-spot. With the inconsistencies from the backcourt, having someone like Filipowski that can be a go-to scorer next to Dariq Whitehead is huge going forward.

Improved perimeter D

When Pittsburgh was winning in the first half, guards Jamarius Burton, Nike Sibande, and Nelly Cummings were having their way on ball screens and switches. The biggest adjustment the Blue Devils made was to hedge hard on the guards and force turnovers with pressure. The Pitt guards couldn’t move the ball and the one-on-one wasn’t working, with the Panthers scoring just 26 points in the second half total.

Dereck Lively’s impact

The No. 1 overall recruit played just 12 minutes in the game, fouling out while coming off the bench. But Lively was a big plus when he was on the court, providing a huge interior presence on the defensive end, and preventing Pittsburgh from making an even bigger run in the first half.

The big man also has six points on 3/4 shooting, which was big considering that the team shot 36% from the field and won by eight points. Lively may not be the star contributor on the team but when he’s on the court, Duke is a better team. They just have to get a little more from him offensively.