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Duke University coach Jon Scheyer pays due credit to Purdue after team's blowout loss: "They’re as good as anybody in the country"

Bellarmine v Duke
Duke Blue Devils head coach Jon Scheyer

Coach Jon Scheyer and Duke headed into Sunday with a big opportunity on their hands. The Blue Devils faced the Purdue Boilermakers, one of the NCAA's tougher and underrated teams, in the championship game of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament.

With another team featuring a plethora of talented prospects, Duke is hoping to be a force this season. But the Blue Devils (6-2) found out they've got a lot of work to do, losing 75-56 on Sunday and tumbling to No. 17 from No. 9 in the latest rankings on Monday.

Scheyer praised Purdue (6-0), which blasted Gonzaga 84-66 on Friday and moved to No. 5 from No. 19 with the two tournament wins.

"We obviously have a lot of things we need to do better, but proud of the fight we showed in the second half," Scheyer said. "We need to learn to do that for 40 minutes. Hats off to them. They’re as good as anybody in the country. They have a really good team, and I give all the credit to them.”

Duke Blue Devils look to respond after loss to Purdue Boilermakers

Phil Knight Legacy tournament: Duke vs. Purdue
Phil Knight Legacy tournament: Duke vs. Purdue

The Duke Blue Devils came into the 2022-23 season with a host of talented incoming freshmen. In the first season for the program since the retirement of Mike Krzyzewski, it was expected to be another strong year.

Injuries have made the start a bit more difficult than expected. Freshman big man Dereck Lively II, the top recruit out of high school basketball, suffered a calf injury in the preseason and has struggled to hit the ground running. He's averaging 2.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in just 17.4 minutes.

Another freshman expected to be an NCAA star is wing Dariq Whitehead. One of college basketball's top prospects, he's expected to be a potential top 10 pick heading into the season. But after suffering a foot injury in the preseason, Whitehead missed the first three regular-season games. He's averaging just 5.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 13.8 minutes while he works his way back into game shape.

Coach @JonScheyer on the loss to Purdue https://t.co/mVqNPJ2FDU

The Blue Devils, who lost 69-64 to Kansas on Nov. 15, have plenty of talent on their roster. Freshmen such as Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski and Tyrese Proctor have all impressed to start the year. The hope for the Blue Devils is that both Whitehead and Lively will find their rhythm soon.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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