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Filipowski starts in No. 10 Duke’s win. Three takeaways as Blue Devils rout Louisville

Kyle Filipowski was in the lineup Wednesday night as usual and, like its leading scorer, No. 10 Duke recovered nicely from last Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest.

The Blue Devils led for all but two minutes against the ACC’s last-place team, riding 19 points from senior Jeremy Roach to an 84-59 ACC basketball win over Louisville at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke (22-6, 13-4 ACC) stayed one game behind rival North Carolina (22-6, 14-3 ACC) in the league standings as Filipowski started and scored nine points while grabbing 10 rebounds and collecting six assists.

The 7-foot Filipowski suffered a right knee injury on Saturday when a Wake Forest fan collided with him during a court storm following Wake’s 83-79 win at Winston-Salem. It ignited a national conversation, led by Duke head coach Jon Scheyer, about banning court stormings in the name of player safety.

But after being slowed due to pain earlier in the week, Filipowski played 29 minutes against Louisville (8-20, 3-14 ACC).

Duke led 36-23 at halftime and pushed its lead to as large as 26 points in the second half.

The Blue Devils shot 56.1%, including 57.6% in the second half. They made 11 of 22 3-pointers.

In addition to Roach, Duke’s double-figure scorers included Mark Mitchell (17) and Jared McCain (14).

Louisville shot 41.1% overall and made just 3 of 17 3-pointers (17.6%) to suffer its fourth consecutive loss. The Cardinals have lost at least 20 games in back-to-back seasons under coach Kenny Payne. The last time Louisville lost 20 games before last season was 1997-98.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Filipowski all good, Foster not so much

Filipowski started for the 28th time this season as he and McCain remain the only Blue Devils players to start every game this season.

But freshman guard Caleb Foster, who suffered a right foot injury during the Wake Forest game, was unavailable for the first time this season as he joined the growing list of Duke players sidelined due to injury this season. Foster joins Roach, Proctor and Mitchell as Blue Devils who have started 10 or more games but missed at least one due to injury this season.

Having played in each of Duke’s previous 27 games, with 15 starts, Foster’s 7.7 scoring average belies his growing importance to the team of late. His ability to handle the ball without turning it over has become something Scheyer has appreciated.

Duke connects on offense

The Blue Devils finished with 23 assists as their passing proved superbly effective against Louisville.

Duke entered the night having assisted on 54.2% of its made field goals. That’s better than the national Division I average of 50.6 and puts the Blue Devils No. 91 nationally (75th percentile) in that category among 362 teams.

The Blue Devils assisted on only 46.2% of their field goals, collecting 12 assists, while losing at Wake Forest last Saturday. But they were at 67.9%, with 19 assists, when they blasted Miami, 84-55, last Wednesday.

Prior to Wednesday night, 19 assists marked Duke’s best performance in that category against ACC foes. The Blue Devils had done that in five previous ACC games this season.

Duke’s season-high assist total of 24 came in a 106-69 win over Queens on Dec. 30.

Looking ahead to DC

Duke remained in second place in the ACC regular-season standings, trailing only North Carolina (22-6, 14-3 ACC). In the race for first place and the top seed for next month’s ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C., both teams have three regular-season games remaining. That includes their March 9 game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which Duke has to win to have a chance for first place.

The Blue Devils can assure themselves of finishing no worse than second place if they can beat third-place Virginia (20-8, 11-6 ACC) when the teams clash Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The ACC Tournament begins on March 12 when the six teams at the bottom of the standings square off against one another. As of Wednesday’s game, those teams are Virginia Tech, Boston College, Notre Dame, Miami, Georgia Tech and Louisville.

The three surviving teams from March 12 advance to games on March 13 to play the teams seeded Nos. 5-7.

The top four teams in the standings earn double-byes into the quarterfinal round on March 14.