March Madness: Duke gets past Vermont 64-47 in South Region despite offensive dud from Filipowski

NEW YORK (AP) — For Duke to advance deep into this NCAA Tournament, the Blue Devils are going to need more from Kyle Filipowski.

Jared McCain and Mark Mitchell each had 15 points, and No. 4 seed Duke opened with an uneven performance Friday night before finally pulling away from Vermont for a 64-47 victory.

Jeremy Roach scored 14 for the Blue Devils (25-8), who advanced without much offensive production from their biggest star. Filipowski took only one shot and scored a career-low three points in almost 37 minutes, though the sophomore center and second-team All-American did grab 12 rebounds.

“I’m so happy with how I played,” Filipowski said, pointing out his four assists. “I did what I needed to do for this team in order to get this win.”

Seeking its 18th Final Four berth and sixth national championship, Duke next plays a South Region second-round game Sunday in Brooklyn against No. 12 seed James Madison, which beat fifth-seeded Wisconsin 72-61 for its first NCAA Tournament win since a 2013 victory in the First Four.

Shamir Bogues scored 18 points for No. 13 seed Vermont (28-7), playing in its third consecutive NCAA Tournament as America East champions. Aaron Deloney added 14 for the Catamounts, who had won 10 straight games.

Coming off two consecutive losses to in-state rivals, including an ACC quarterfinal flop against North Carolina State, the Blue Devils had trouble putting away Vermont until late. Tyrese Proctor finished with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting for Duke, which outscored the Catamounts 20-2 at the free-throw line and 10-0 in points off turnovers.

“I think it shows how versatile we are,” Proctor said. “Flip’s the best big in the country and he’s such a good passer and he’s (going) to attract so many different players, it allows us to move off the ball and get open shots. It took us a little bit at the start just to get used to it because we haven’t seen it in so long, but once we got the hang of it, the flow of it, we were able to get whatever we wanted.”

Even in New York City, where Duke has a large alumni network and fan base, the pesky Catamounts had the crowd chanting “UVM! UVM!” when they cut their deficit to two early in the second half.

“Yeah, we fed off that. And we wish like hell we could have gave them more to cheer about,” Vermont coach John Becker said. “Our guys were tired. We’re playing NBA players, you know what I mean? Like, we don’t have NIL. We don’t pay anyone anything. These kids are zero-star recruits.”

“So, we had to expend so much energy against this team,” he added. “We just needed some magic and let the crowd just carry us home. It’s not always a storybook Hollywood ending.”

McCain responded with a 3-pointer, and Duke finally started to establish some sustained breathing room midway through the second half.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” coach Jon Scheyer said, praising his team's defense and Filipowski's unselfish play. “Just thought it was a terrific job by these guys and showing a lot of toughness, a lot of heart, and really proud of this win.”

A hush fell over the crowd with 1:18 left when Vermont’s leading scorer, TJ Long, went down with a serious-looking injury. Long was about to go up for a breakaway layup when his right knee buckled and he dropped to the floor. After receiving attention from an athletic trainer, he was helped off the court to applause.

Becker said he didn't really speak to Long after the game, he just kissed him on the head. The junior guard from nearby Long Island left the locker room on crutches.

“He was clearly in pain and clearly upset,” Becker said. “His parents made it down. So I just kind of let them be.”

Duke played without Caleb Foster again after Scheyer said Thursday the freshman guard will sit out the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his right ankle.

The team had hoped Foster (7.7 points per game) could return during the NCAA Tournament, but he missed his sixth consecutive game. Foster saw multiple doctors and even tried to practice this week, but Scheyer said Foster “wasn’t able to be himself.”

Duke went on an 8-0 spree in the first half and it appeared the Blue Devils were poised to break it open when they built a 10-point cushion — even with little scoring from Filipowski.

“Do we need to give him more shots? Yes. But tonight I thought he made some great reads,” Scheyer said.

Vermont answered and cut it to 34-29 at halftime. Long and Deloney each tossed in a circus bucket to beat the shot clock, after Becker received a technical foul earlier in the half for yelling at an official.

___

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness