How Duke basketball senior captain Jeremy Roach handled a reserve role against Clemson

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After dealing with knee and ankle injuries this month, Duke guard Jeremy Roach returned to the Blue Devils in a reserve role for Saturday’s ACC game with Clemson at at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

In a rare non-starting appearance, the senior captain scored five points, hitting just 1 of 8 shots, as the No. 12 Blue Devils edged Clemson, 72-71.

A 6-3 senior, Roach missed No. 12 Duke’s most-recent home game, an 80-76 loss to Pittsburgh, on Jan. 20 due to a knee injury. He returned to the lineup Tuesday night at Louisville, but only played 17 minutes after spraining his right ankle in the first half.

Roach’s on-court work since then was limited as he rehabbed the ankle in hopes of playing for the Blue Devils (15-4, 6-2 ACC) in a key league game with Clemson (13-6, 3-5 ACC).

He did so little during the week that the initial plan Saturday morning was to hold him out of the game.

“Jeremy Roach hasn’t practiced,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said after the game. “He literally has not practiced since the game we had on Tuesday. And he just tried to will it out today. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he did enough just to help and make some plays.”

Roach was Duke’s first reserve off the bench against Clemson as he checked with 15:04 remaining in the first half. He played 25 minutes, six seconds.

The Blue Devils started freshmen guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain, along with sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor, sophomore forwards Kyle Filipowski and Mark Mitchell.

One of Duke’s three team captains, Roach started 32 consecutive games before missing the Pittsburgh game. Even with his injuries, he’s played a team-best 32 minutes per game for the Blue Devils this season. He averages 14.4 points per game and has made 45.6% of his 3-pointers.

Saturday was the first game Roach played as a reserve since Jan. 23, 2023, when he scored six points in a 78-75 loss at Virginia Tech.