Duke looks to extend its winning streak to four straight as the Blue Devils host Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night.
Duke and Syracuse will both be making the infamous quick turnaround. Both teams earned emotional wins on Saturday. Duke won a dogfight over ACC leading Virginia, 66-65, while Syracuse came back from 20 points down to beat Notre Dame and match Duke with a three-game winning streak of its own.
Syracuse and Duke are part of a four-team tie, along with Louisville and Clemson, for fifth-place in the ACC, a half game out of one of the double-byes in the upcoming ACC Tournament.
A key for Duke will be solving Syracuse’s zone defense, a task made more difficult by the lack of preparation time between games, especially considering that the first game in the sequence required extensive scouting and game planning as well, facing Virginia’s pack line defense.
The Blue Devils have been running a more balanced offense, with freshmen big men Mark Williams, Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman stepping up as the season goes on. Duke will need to continue working the ball inside rather than falling into the trap of taking quick threes against the zone. The inside threat has helped open things up for the outside shooters, who have hit 50-of-113, .443, from three in the last five games.
Duke has also struggled defending the three—four of the last six opponents have shot over 45 percent from outside against the Blue Devils, and Syracuse has hit 24-of-52, .462, from three in the last three games.
Your starters: Moore, Hurt, Steward, Roach, Williams
Moore and Roach with early threes for Duke. Hurt also had a nice tap out for an offensive rebound setting up Roach's three. Duke up early, 8-2. Both teams with two early turnovers.
Steward joins the three-point party against the Syracuse zone.
Duke possession ends in a turnover taking us to the under 16. Blue Devils lead 13-6
Duke with assists on all five made shots so far.
Matt Hurt for three puts Duke up 10. Time out Syracuse. Duke is 4-of-6 from three, 7-of-9 from two.
4-0 Syracuse run since the time out, and Brakefield commits an offensive foul.
Williams with his second dunk off a lob, this one in transition.
Duke steal, Syracuse deflection stops the break. Out of bounds takes us to the under 12, Duke leading 20-12.
Roach banks in a three. Williams with a powerful dunk on the break. Duke up 25-12, time out Syracuse.
Long three by Steward. Duke just lighting up Cuse right now. It's a 16=point game
Duke with 13 assists on 13 made baskets. Steward and Roach each hit from three again. Duke up 20.
Coleman called for a foul. At the under 8, Duke is up 36-14.
Buddy Boeheim heating up for Syracuse, who is on a 14-6 run. Still a long way to go. Duke calls time with Duke up 42-28.
Williams tips in a miss just before the buzzer to give Duke a 52-34 lead at halftime. Roach has made all four three-point attempts. Steward is 3-of-6. Duke is 10-of-12 with 16 assists on 20 makes.
Syracuse travels, taking us to the under 16. Duke leads 61-40. Williams has two putbacks already this half.
Syracuse shooting better this half but Duke still holding a 17-point lead, 72-55 at the under 12
Williams with his third putback of the half. He now has a double-double--16 and 10. Griffin charges at the other end for his third foul. Duke back up 20
Syracuse has been trying backcourt pressure most of this half. Duke has been successful in not just breaking it but attacking the hoop in transition against it. At the under 8, Duke leads 81-59
Boeheim with back-to-back threes. Not over yet. Duke up 85-71 with 1:38 to go
Now it's over. Duke dribbles out an 85-71 win, its fourth straight.