The No. 17 Duke Blue Devils were not going to allow themselves to drop two games in a row to Big Ten teams, as they clobbered the No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes Wednesday night at home, 81-72. Before that, Duke basketball lost to No. 24 Purdue Boilermakers last Sunday, 75-56.
A major key to the success of Duke basketball against Ohio State was the season-best performance of freshman center Dereck Lively. The 7-1 first-year Blue Devil put up a total of 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the floor with five rebounds, an assist, two blocks, and a steal in just 18 minutes. Duke head coach Jon Scheyer was definitely impressed with how Lively played, but he certainly believes the best is yet to come from the big man, particularly since he hasn’t had a lot of practice yet with the team (h/t Brian H).
Scheyer says: Dariq missed 3 months, and Dereck missed a month – people need to be patient with them.
— Brian H (@Dukeblogger) December 1, 2022
Lively had missed a month of practice because of a right calf injury and had scored just a total of 19 points this season heading into the game against the Buckeyes. His clear lack of production mostly attributed to his absence from the team because of the said injury, has led some fans to feel frustrated about the recruit. After all, Lively was the Class of 2022’s top recruit.
Like Lively, Dariq Whitehead is also another highly-touted recruit of Duke basketball that is still trying to find his form after a long absence.
It’s been a challenging start to Scheyer’s stint as head coach of Duke, with the Blue Devils already dropping two games this season, but the team can get way more better once both Lively and Whitehead are in 100 percent form.