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NEW YORK — More than 13 years ago, Baylor and Duke squared off in a massive game. Jon Scheyer was a player then, a senior point guard for the Blue Devils. 

The scene: the 2010 Elite Eight. Scheyer scored 20 points, played all 40 minutes and the top-seeded Blue Devils beat the third-seeded Bears 78-71 to earn a trip to the Final Four. Two games later, Scheyer's college career ended with a national championship. 

Until Wednesday, it was the only meeting between these two.

Duke is now 2-0 vs. BU and the score here was eerily similar to the 2010 result, off by just one point: No. 21 Duke 78, No. 10 Baylor 70. 

"That game was probably the most important of my playing career because we went through three and half really tough, successful years and it comes down to a moment," Scheyer said Wednesday night. "I felt it was the same thing for our team tonight." 

Wait, it gets even spookier. 

While the stakes weren't nearly as high in this game, it was still one with a lot on the line. You could argue it was the most pressure-packed matchup of Scheyer's young career, given Duke's 7-3 start and one lone win heretofore that was of debatable value (Michigan State in early November). 

It'll be a happy Christmas for Scheyer, his players and Duke fans. Duke peeled off a 9-0 run late in the second half that put Baylor away. The push was punctuated by a wide open Jared McCain 3-pointer from the corner with 4:03 remaining to put Duke up 68-61 and send a majority of the 18,512 fans in the building into a frenzy. 

This was the game that saw the Blue Devils wake up and deliver their most reassuring performance of this still somewhat-young season. As I watched Scheyer gush about his guys in the postgame presser, it was obvious how much this victory meant to him. There was a lot riding on it. 

"Wearing this name across your chest, where people are rooting for you to fail," he said. 

Part of that is true. It's also true that it's good when Duke is interesting and capable of beating most teams. Now there's some evidence that can be the case. Duke remains worthy of your attention.

Here are my takeaways from MSG:

No team needed a win this week like Duke

The Blue Devils just got one of the more symbolically significant wins of the month, I think. They were the lead of Wednesday's Court Report and in that story I quoted my recent interview with Scheyer, who admitted the team was yet to gain "an edge" and have a collective trust in each other. 

"We felt this was our moment," Scheyer said. 

I spoke with Scheyer briefly after his press conference on Wednesday and he said this kind of performance in a building as amped as MSG was just what the doctor ordered. 

"It was one of those big steps," he told me.

It's also the way Duke got it done. No Tyrese Proctor (more on that below) and All-American candidate Kyle Filipowski had a subpar outing (13 points, 10 rebounds, four fouls). That could have spelled a letdown. Instead, the guards came up huge. McCain and his freshman teammate Caleb Foster combined for 33 points. They played a combined 69 minutes, their most in a game so far this season. 

Then there's Jeremy Roach, the senior leader who said afterward that he needed to step up in his role more than he had been in recent weeks. 

"We wanted to prove to ourselves we could do it," Roach said. "Three tough losses and I said I didn't set the tone, I wasn't leading the right way."

He did on Wednesday. Roach had 18 points and never wandered far from an important sequence. It's vitally important for Duke to prove it can beat high-end opponents away from home when Filipowski isn't having a great night. That's precisely what happened. 

The win also provides Duke its second Quad 1 victory of the season. Here's a mini-stunner: It was also the first top-10 win of Scheyer's coaching career. 

"College basketball can be so up and down, and I think Jared's learned it early on, the reaction people can have of Duke losing," Scheyer said. "For us to be in some big-time games right away … look, we didn't play our best in a couple of those. 

"Those games, I think more got brought to the light. I thought we were incredibly tough tonight. … I thought we were more mentally tough down the stretch, which is what this program's about."

Baylor isn't in trouble, but something is amiss

Roach recalled a moment midway through the second half when Filipowski told his teammates, "We get the lead, they'll get tight."

Good foresight. Baylor didn't have another gear once Duke got the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. 

Maybe it was the long layoff during finals, maybe it was a jump up in competition, but Drew's team needs some recalibration. Until the past two games, Baylor was averaging more than 90 points. It entered Wednesday with an 88.4 average. It managed 70 vs. Duke after an 88-64 drubbing against Michigan State in Detroit. 

"I thought we really competed at a much higher level in terms of intensity and toughness," Drew said. "The good thing is we've got guys that want to get better and will get better throughout the year."

Can't have the offense dry up, though. At best, Baylor will be an OK defensive team this year, it looks like. 

I like the starting five: RayJ Dennis running things, Jayden Nunn as an opportunistic contributor, freshman Ja'Kobe Walter with huge playmaking capability, Jalen Bridges' veteran leadership and Yves Missi's young career emerging in a promising way. The bench is also deep. Missi (11 points, 10 boards) had his third double-double of the season. He's going to be huge for BU in the Big 12. 

But he can't be the only plus defender. Drew said the turnover difference (Baylor 14, Duke eight) was the thing that split the game. And if you watched, Dennis had a few major miscues. 

"You look at some of our turnovers and they're atrocious," Scott Drew said. "I mean, they're easy to correct for stupid turnovers."

Sometimes that's the learning curve for a former mid-major player who gets put in a big game against a huge opponent with future NBA bodies on the floor. No shame in losing to Duke, but Baylor knows it didn't put a full 40 minutes of effort out there.

"They play in hostile environments, you get out of character, and the only way to grow and get better at that is to be in those environments," Drew told me. 

The Bears are 9-2 and have a gimme against Mississippi Valley State on Friday before a 10-day layoff. On Jan. 2, they'll open up their new home arena. It's a chance for an in-season reset. 

"For us, a lot of things that come easy in the beginning of the year, and when things become tougher, that's where teams are meshed and that's when you start to learn, to trust, make plays for each other," Drew said.

Things had been coming easy for Baylor for the most part. This two-game skid should toughen the group as it heads into the toughest league to play in, the Big 12. I still buy Baylor as a Final Four contender in the bigger picture. 

Proctor on pace to return, potentially in Duke's next game

With the win secured, the most pressing question is about Proctor's availability. Scheyer said Proctor's sprained left ankle is getting better — but he wasn't ever going to be cleared to play vs. Baylor. Proctor has missed the past four games, including the final 39 minutes of the loss to Georgia Tech on Dec. 2. 

"He really wanted to play in this game, but he hasn't practiced, he hasn't done any 5-on-5," Scheyer said. "I feel optimistic when we get back for our next game, but again, he has to keep putting days together, but he's progressing great."

Duke's next game is Dec. 30 vs. Queens, so it would seem like he'll be back for that one. Will it be in the starting lineup, though? Proctor is a player with a lot of promise, but he hasn't been consistently playing up to preseason expectations. Nevertheless, Duke figures to be better with him than without — he's one of the most vocal guys on the team — and his role going into 2024 will be one of the key plot points for Duke as it begins ACC play against Syracuse on Jan. 2