Duke Shocked By NC State 76-64, Season Over

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The shots just weren’t falling. Duke went ice cold early in the 2nd half, and simply couldn’t keep up with the Wolfpack as their season ends to their fellow ACC school 76-64. Jon Scheyer’s second season at the helm ends in heartbreaking fashion.

Despite building a six-point lead by halftime, mainly due to poor shooting by NC State, DJ Burns and Co. flipped the script as Duke shot a measly 32% for the game. The stat line would be even worse if it weren’t for some attempted late-game heroics by Jared McCain with some desperation three-pointers.

Jared McCain Duke
Jared McCain looks at the refs in disbelief late in Duke’s loss to NC State in the Elite Eight, 76-64.

Duke continued their strategy of playing big man DJ Burns straight-up defensively, opting not to double team. Burns answered with a blistering 29 points on 13 for 19 shooting. Scheyer and the coaching staff will likely face some questions about that choice as they look back on their season. The usual reply is that Burns is an excellent passer and has been finding the open man on double teams consistently the past three weeks. However, Blue Devil fans are certainly going to second guess the decision, or at least wonder why Duke refused to change their tactics mid-game.

NC State DJ Burns
DJ Burns and the Wolfpack were just simply too much to handle today. The agile big man had 29 huge points in the win.

On the other hand, the star big man for Duke struggled today. Kyle Filipowski fouled out of the game with around 4 minutes remaining, and left with just 11 points on 3-12 shooting. Particularly towards the end, Filipowski was visibility frustrated by the hounding Wolfpack defense. He appeared to unravel a bit at the end, putting up a few ill-advised threes (he missed both), and then earning his fifth foul with a poor decision to basically discard NC State guard Michael O’Connell on a rebound attempt. In what may be his final game in a Blue Devil uniform, Filipowski will have to wonder about what might have been.

Duke Filipowski
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski looks on nervously from the bench after fouling out. He finished with 11 points.

Really, the Duke program as a whole will have to do the same. NC State was unquestionably a hot team coming into the game, but on paper, the talent disparity really stands out. How can a squad loaded with NBA talent fall short with a shot a the Final Four on the line? Sure, Scheyer has another stellar recruiting class on the way, but at some point, recruits are going to look elsewhere if Duke can’t deliver in big games. A 1-4 record to local rivals NC State and UNC coupled with a subpar performance in the NCAA Tourney looms large. Some Class of 2025 recruits that were squarely in the Duke camp may be eying other big-time programs after this disappointing finish.

Can Coach Scheyer rally the troops and win in the offseason? Pick up an impactful transfer or two, keep their own talent out of the portal, and coach up this historic 2024 recruiting class? We’ll have to wait until November to find out. For Duke fans, it’s going to be a long, long summer.

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