Duke Rides Early Surge To Defeat Syracuse
DURHAM, N.C. - DJ Steward scored a team-high 21 points while Mark Williams converted 9-of-11 attempts from the field for a career-high 18 points as Duke (11-8, 9-6 ACC) defeated Syracuse (13-7, 7-6 ACC) on Monday night, 85-71.
HOW THE GAME WAS DECIDED
A Mark Williams jumper sparked an 18-2 Duke scoring stretch that featured six points apiece from Jeremy Roach and Steward to put the Blue Devils ahead, 36-14, with 6:47 remaining in the first half. The Duke lead did not fall below double digits for the remainder of the contest.
Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 21 points, his second-consecutive 20+ point performance. Kadary Richmond followed closely behind with 15 points, finishing one point shy of matching his career high 16-point performance against Niagara. Boeheim and Richmond were joined in double figures by Marek Dolezaj (13 points) and Alan Griffin (11 points). Griffin and Quincy Guerrier tied for the team-lead on the glass with eight boards.
FROM COACH BOEHEIM
"We battled as hard as we could after that start" said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "We have to work better together, find a way to get better movement on offense, and be more active on the defensive end."
DEVILS DASH AHEAD
The teams traded two-point field goals to open the contest before 3-pointers from Wendell Moore Jr., Roach, and Steward gave the Blue Devils an 9-2 scoring stretch to take an 11-4 advantage in the game's first three minutes. Five unanswered Duke points pushed the score to 18-8 with 14:31 remaining in the opening stanza.
A layup from Richmond cut the deficit to six, but 10-straight Duke points stretched the Blue Devil lead to 16, 28-12, with 9:42 left in the first frame. The 10 unanswered points were part of an 18-2 Duke scoring stretch over the course of six minutes that saw the Blue Devil shooters make seven-of-eight attempts from the field, pushing the Duke lead to 36-14 with 6:47 left on the clock.
Faced with a 20+ point deficit, the Orange fought back with eight unanswered points of their own. Back-to-back triples from Boeheim were bookended by a put-back layup from Richmond to close the gap to 14, 42-28, with 3:31 left in the half.
The Blue Devils outscored Syracuse 10-6 over the remainder of the period to take a 52-34 lead at halftime. Duke converted 62.5 percent (20-of-32) of its attempts from the field and 55.6 (10-of-18) of its attempts from three in the opening 20 minutes.
DUKE SEALS THE SECOND HALF
The Blue Devils edged the Orange 9-6 in the first four minutes of the second stanza, but five straight points on a Boeheim 3-pointer and a pair of free throw makes from Dolezaj made the score 61-45 with 14:44 remaining in the contest.
The score stood at 70-55 with 11:39 on the clock when Duke dropped eight unanswered points that included four from Williams over a two-minute stretch to extend its lead to 78-55 just past the midway point in the second half.
Syracuse outscored Duke 16-7 over the remainder of the game and closed the contest on a 10-0 run, but it proved to be too little, too late as the Blue Devils claimed an 85-71 victory.
Syracuse surpassed Duke in points in the paint (36-30) and second-chance points (24-16).
Syracuse had 19 points off the bench while Duke's reserves only scored 10.
The Orange edged the Blue Devils on the offensive glass, 18-14.
The Orange doubled the Blue Devils in steals, 10-5.
Buddy Boeheim tallied 20+ points for the second-consecutive contest. The last Syracuse player to have consecutive 20+ point performances was Alan Griffin, who did so three-straight times early in the season against Rider, Rutgers, and Boston College.
Syracuse heads to Atlanta for a meeting with Georgia Tech on Saturday, February 27. Tip off from McCamish Pavilion is set for 12 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on the ACC Network.