Final Four veteran Jeremy Roach and Aussie native Tyrese Proctor combined for 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals Tuesday night inside Cameron Indoor stadium in a 75-73 payback victory against Wake Forest – avenged their 81-70 December 20th loss to the Demon Deacons. Proctor and Roach provided much-needed efficiency and leadership, two things the Blue Devils will need as they head into the tail end of conference play.
Tuesday night’s victory was Proctor’s most efficient game since December 10th. From the field he shot 54.5 percent, including 42.9 percent from the perimeter. The only blemish on the stat sheet were his four turnovers. With his 6’5 frame, Tyrese’s continuous improvement attacking the lane and looking to score gives Duke another dimension offensively, especially after missing Dariq Whitehead the last two games due to a lower leg injury. The freshman continues to adjust to the physicality of the American game, something the Australian native talked about wanting to do before the season.
Jeremy Roach came out the gates assertive and aggressive, started the game shooting 70 percent in the first half for 17 points – leading the Blue Devils to a 41-34 halftime lead. For Duke to excel, Roach’s persistent and instant offense should be a focal point for an offense that ranks just 9th in the league at 72.9 points per game. Defensively the Blue Devils rank second in the ACC, behind Virginia, giving up an average of just 63.9 points per contest. Holding the Demon Deacons to just 29 percent from the perimeter, its lowest since a 72-70 loss to LSU back in December, was a difference-maker on Tuesday night.
“That’s when we’ve been at our best, when [Jeremy Roach] is just playing instinctively and playing aggressive,” head coach Jon Scheyer said after the win. “I think he had 17 in the first half. We weren’t in a great flow offensively and Jeremy was the guy that kept us going. I like the look that he had. He drew the toughest assignment guarding Appleby, as well.”
“Tyrese is such a natural,” Scheyer continued. “He’s a smart player. He makes things easier. He made some uncharacteristic turnovers tonight, but Jeremy we needed in attack mode and that’s what we need to continue him to do.”
The Blue Devils will regroup and set their eyes on a match-up, that not only ended Coach K’s career but their season in New Orleans, against North Carolina in what’s widely considered one of the biggest games of the year. Duke will need another complete effort from its revamped and improved back court come Saturday night.
- Duke’s current 24-game home winning streak in the series over Wake Forest is team’s longest active over any opponent.
- Duke out-rebounded Wake 39-32, the 18th time in 22 games that Duke has had a rebounding advantage. Duke is 15-3 this season when out-rebounding the opponent.
- Junior Jeremy Roach scored a team-high 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 17 points in the first half – a season high in a half for any Blue Devil and a career high in any half for Roach.
- Freshman Kyle Filipowski secured his 11th double-double this season, including his fifth in the last six games, with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
- Over the last six games, Filipowski has scored 126 points (21.0 avg) and grabbed 71 rebounds (11.8 avg).
- Freshman Tyrese Proctor was the third Blue Devil in double figures by matching his career high was 17 points to go with five rebounds.
- Proctor has scored in double figures in five of the last six games and is averaging 12.7 points in that stretch.
North Carolina at Duke Saturday 6:00 PM February 4th.