DURHAM, N.C. (AP)Even for a storied program like Duke, there was another historical footnote Saturday.
Tyrese Proctor and Dariq Whitehead each scored 15 points and the 15th-ranked Blue Devils rolled past Maryland-Eastern Shore 82-55 while using an all-freshman starting lineup for the first time.
”It was cool,” freshman forward Mark Mitchell said. ”It feels good to make history.”
For first-year coach Jon Scheyer, it seemed strange to send out a starting five of all freshmen although the Blue Devils have counted heavily on first-year players frequently for more than a decade.
”It was not something we were trying to do for that reason,” Scheyer said of creating a piece of program history. ”It just organically ended up that way. Each of those five guys, they’re talented and they’re about the team and they’re just trying to figure it all out.”
Kyle Filipowski added 14 points as Duke (10-2) won its fourth game in a row.
It wasn’t perfect as the Blue Devils, who committed a season-high 19 turnovers while capping their nonconference schedule.
”It’s definitely a special moment,” Dereck Lively II said of being among the starters with his classmates. ”We’re going to get better.”
Of course, there was responsibility that came at the beginning of the game.
”Let’s make sure we do the job,” Whitehead said.
Troy Hupstead had 12 points, Zion Styles posted 11 points and Da’Shawn Phillip had 10 points for Maryland-Eastern Shore (3-7), which lost its third game in a row.
Whitehead, who made his first career start but had all but two of his points in the second half, joined Filipowski, Proctor, Mitchell and Lively in the starting unit.
”I think we can play at any level, and we all believe in each other,” Proctor said.
Filipowski scored 12 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the first half after going scoreless to that point. He has reached double figures in every game of his college career.
Duke had scoring runs of 11 and 12 points in the first half, when the Hawks committed 13 turnovers. The Blue Devils led 39-21 at halftime.
”I thought that they overwhelmed us with their size, especially in the beginning of the game and throughout the first half and made it really difficult for us to executive offensively,” Maryland-Eastern Shore coach Jason Crafton said. ”I thought we did scrap. The second half looked a little bit more similar to how we play.”
Maryland-Eastern Shore didn’t attempt a free throw until 10:45 remained in the game. The Hawks ended up 2-for-2 on foul shots.
Four days after one of the best games of his career, starting guard Jeremy Roach of Duke sat out with a toe injury. It’s the first time the third-year guard has missed a game.
”He has been playing through pain. He hasn’t been able to practice,” Scheyer said. ”This is the one chance we have for him to get back to 100 percent.”
Roach, who’s averaging 13.1 points and 3.5 assists per game, matched his career high with 22 points Tuesday against Iowa in the Jimmy V Classic in New York. He had started each of the first 11 games but sustained the injury Nov. 27 vs. Purdue.
Maryland-Eastern Shore: The Hawks had trouble cranking up offense in the first half, but they broke down Duke’s defense for some easy looks for a stretch early in the second half. They’re winless in seven road games.
Duke: The Blue Devils, whose string of consecutive opponents from power conferences ended at six, had a mostly smooth game and that allowed several different player combinations to be on the court. Yet there were a few second-half sequences that might be fodder for discussion before the next game.
Duke’s nonconference home record finished at 6-0. . Maryland-Eastern Shore also lost to Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia last month.
Maryland-Eastern Shore: Hosts Clarks Summit on Saturday.
Duke: At Wake Forest on Dec. 20.