Five Takeaways: Duke’s Elite Talent Proves Too Much for Pitt in ACC Quarterfinal Rout
GREENSBORO, N.C. — From the second Dereck Lively convincingly won the opening jump-ball, the Duke Blue Devils dominated Pitt in just about every facet of Thursday afternoon’s ACC Tournament game.
Kyle Filipowski, Lively, Mark Mitchell, and Tyrese Proctor all scored in double digits in the Devils’ 96-69 rout of Pitt, sending the Panthers back home to the Steel City in anticipation of Selection Sunday. The Blue Devils shot the ball well from everywhere, hitting 62% of their field-goal attempts and 42% of their three-point attempts on the day. Proctor, Ryan Young, and Jeremy Roach combined for 20 assists, as the team set its season high with 27 assists and scored a season-high 96 points.
“I think we play our best basketball when we have open looks and guys are just cutting and making the right decisions,” Proctor said. “I’m able to find them at the right time, and the rest is on them just making the play.
Perhaps Duke’s best performance of the year came on a day which Pitt would certainly like to forget, especially due to the timing. This loss is Pitt’s third in its last four games, and right ahead of Selection Sunday, the cold streak could not have come at a worse time this season.
“We could never really get into a rhythm offensively,” head coach Jeff Capel said. “We missed some shots early, and I just thought for the first time in a really, really long time we got knocked back and did not respond.”
DUKE’S HOT START, DEFENSIVE PRESSURE FLUSTER PANTHERS
After Filipowski hit his first two threes of the game, Duke continued to apply pressure on the Panthers, not allowing them to score until the 16:25 mark in the first half when Jamarius Burton sank a pair of free throws.
The Panthers weren’t even turning the ball over; they just could not get comfortable looks to convert. While Duke took a 12-0 lead to start the matchup, the Panthers continued to struggle. The Blue Devils’ length, quickness, and aggressive switches rattled the Panthers from the start, and the result was Pitt not scoring its first ten points until the 8:57 mark in the first half.
“Well, I think, number one, they have gotten a lot better defensively from when we played them the first time, so I think their defense forced us out of some things that we’ve normally been able to get,” Capel said about the Blue Devils. “Their ball screen coverage, they’re really tall, and they have great length at every position. We had some kicks. We had some shots. We missed some early, and then they made everything early, and I think that just knocked us completely back.”
#Duke's Jon Scheyer:
"Pitt is a really good team, and they're going to be an NCAA Tournament team.. I don't think they're respected nationally like they should be. They're a dangerous team, man. They can really score, and that's why the job we did on defense was really special." pic.twitter.com/kMJt5QnhGq
— George Michalowski (@MichalowskiCBB) March 9, 2023
FILIPOWSKI OWNS THE PANTHERS AGAIN
Kyle Filipowski was a man amongst boys on Thursday.
Filipowski, Duke’s five-star freshman phenom, shined from the tip to the buzzer for the Blue Devils, scoring a game-best 22 points. He began his day by calmly stepping into two wide open threes. As if his 28-point showing in the first matchup between the two teams wasn’t enough to force Pitt out on him, Filipowski took the room that Pitt gave him and punished the Panthers right away.
He’s a matchup nightmare, standing at 7-feet tall, 230 pounds, with guard-like skills that earned him ACC Rookie of the Year honors earlier this week. Not only did he hit threes, but Filipowski showcased his all-around skill set, driving to the rack, hitting off the catch, and efficiently putting the ball through the hoop all day long. He finished with a remarkable 8-for-10 shooting line, leading his team in scoring in just 16 minutes. Oh, and that was, for the most part, after he left the game early with an apparent ankle injury.
“It’s so much fun”
Kyle Filipowski is enjoying his freshman year. pic.twitter.com/usUZITNBXt
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) March 9, 2023
FEDERIKO ONLY PLAYS 12 MINUTES
Federiko Federiko scored the Panthers first field goal of the game on a layup to cut the Blue Devil lead down to eight early on.
The Finnish big man once again was in the starting lineup, was running the floor, and had gotten on the board early offensively. However, for Capel, Federiko didn’t look like he was running normally out there.
“He had two fouls in the first half so we sat him,” Capel said. “He did tweak his knee in yesterday’s game, and once we started them in the second half, I didn’t like the way he was moving, and we just decided to sit him.”
Federiko finished with four points, hitting both of his field-goal attempts. He grabbed one rebound in the game, and only played four minutes in the second half.
ELLIOTT, PANTHERS BELIEVE PITT IS A TOURNAMENT TEAM
With the loss to Duke, Pitt falls to 22-11 on the season.
Just weeks ago, the Panthers were in excellent shape to make their first NCAA Tournament since the 2015-16 season. Pitt has now lost three of its last four games, and is falling at the wrong time. However, the Panthers believe that their overall body of work from this season deserves them a spot in the field of 68 for this year’s tournament.
“Hopefully we go and get to play,” Greg Elliott told PSN after the game. “I think we deserve it, we played a good season, regular season. We’re just going to see what everybody else does.”
Elliott continued, saying that he believes this team can make a run in the NCAA Tournament if it makes the field.
“Just all the weapons we’ve got, and how together we are,” Elliott said. “Those two things go a long way in March.”
Hear from the rest of the Panthers on the team’s tournament chances below.
Inside the Locker Room: Emotional Pitt Players Break Down Loss to Duke, Tournament Chances