It was a rough night for Marques Bolden.
When Duke players leaned into the huddle, Bolden appeared disengaged and had his hands rested on his hips.
He stayed seated at the end of the bench when players were subbed in and out of the lineup. He avoided the handshake line at the end of Duke’s 87-65 win over Troy on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Having the flu isn’t the best way for the freshman center to start his first NCAA tournament, but that may be the case for Bolden.
“He’s sick,” Duke assistant Nate James said. “We think he may have the flu. He’s completely stumped. He was a trooper wanting to stay on the bench.”
Duke released a statement Saturday morning saying Bolden was battling flu-like symptoms. He stayed out of Saturday’s practice and second-round media session. The Blue Devils will play South Carolina in the second round Sunday at approximately 8:40 p.m.
Nearly every other big on the roster saw playing time against No. 15 Troy on Friday. Center Antonio Vrankovic was the post sub behind freshman Harry Giles, and in the closing moments of the game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, forwards Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and Justin Robinson were on the floor at the same time when the buzzer sounded.
DeLaurier had a steal and a basket.
Chase Jeter, who had a procedure to repair a herniated disk on Jan. 23, hasn’t played since Louisville on Jan. 14, where he had two boards and played for 17 minutes.
Bolden, who periodically took sips from a bottle of Dasani water throughout Thursday’s game, averaged 2.2 minutes his last five games. He didn’t see action in Duke’s ACC tournament championship win over Notre Dame on March 11.
He’s been really low energy. As we got closer to the game, I think it hit him harder.
Duke assistant Nate James on Marques Bolden’s illness
“I don’t think it affects what we’ve been doing,” James said of Bolden missing time because of his illness. “Everyone has to be prepared when his number is called, and a couple of our guys did that. Antonio Vrankovic came off the bench with energy, rebounded, that’s what we need from everyone moving forward. You never know how things turn out with foul trouble.”
Duke’s staff was uncertain if Bolden would be on the bench against Troy; he hasn’t been feeling well for two days.
“He’s been really low energy,” James said. “As we got closer to the game, I think it hit him harder. Right now, we have to get him quarantined and get him healthy and make sure no one else gets it.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan