Duke Drops Another One On The Road To Hokies 78-75

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The road losses are really starting to pile up for Duke in ACC play. Does Jon Scheyer need to hit the panic switch?

The gritty Virginia Tech Hokies held on for a narrow victory on Monday night, and it was one they needed badly. The win over the Blue Devils stopped a seven-game ACC losing streak after starting the season 10-1. Grant Basile scored 24 points and Sean Pedulla had 16 points and five assists to lead the way. This makes for victories in 5 out of the last 6 matchups between the two teams in Blacksburg.

Kyle Filipowski has been on a tear lately. He had 29 points and 10 rebounds for Duke, which was tops in both categories for the team. The past four games has allowed for Filipowski to show off his full skill set to NBA scouts, and his draft stock is rising. Few big men have the playmaking skills that he does at this stage in his career. Tyrese Proctor dished out 6 assists. Jeremy Roach, who is coming back from a toe injury, managed 6 points and 3 assists in 31 minutes of play. Coach Scheyer had previously indicated that he wanted to keep Roach’s minutes under control and in the 20s range, but yet another tight game threw those plans out of the window.

Michael Collins Jr. of Virginia Tech hits the game winner against Duke.
Michael Collins Jr. of Virginia Tech hits the game winner against Duke.

What’s Next For The Blue Devils?

Another dreaded road game is coming up, this one against Georgia Tech on January 28. That’s another team that has really struggled in ACC play, so maybe Duke can get a much-needed win in Atlanta.

The loss stings, but there could be even more trouble from last night. Star freshman Dariq Whitehead left the game in the first half and did not return after landing awkwardly on his left leg. Recall that Whitehead had broken his right foot over the summer and needed surgery, resulting in him missing the first few games. Another injury is just what the Blue Devils didn’t need right now.

And back to Filipowski, he had his own misfortunes in the game. After Michael Collins Jr. hit a midrange jumper to put the Hokies up for good at 77-75, he made a jubilant fist pump in celebration right into Filipowski’s throat. The refs reviewed the play, but ruled it as incidental contact. Duke missed its next shot and that was basically the game.

Whitehead has been a projected NBA draft lottery pick ever since he set foot on campus. However, troubles with his right foot and now his left have put those plans in peril. Could Dariq shut it down and leave the team to get ready for the draft, just as Jalen Johnson did a couple of years ago? That would certainly be a big blow to the team.

The questions are piling up in Durham, and the pressure is on Scheyer to come up with some answers. Can he manage this roster and keep it healthy? And temper the sky-high expectations for individual performances by his star recruits? Can he win consistently on the road in the ACC? Right now, Duke fans are going through a tough stretch.

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