Duke led by as many as 24 on its way to an 85-71 win over Syracuse. The victory was Duke’s fourth straight as the Blue Devils continue to work their way back into NCAA consideration. Duke is currently in a tie for fourth in the ACC and hoping to earn one of the ACC’s coveted double-byes in the conference tournament.
Freshman center Mark Williams had a big game, recording his first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also blocked two shots.
“It’s always fun when you win,” he said. “I think we were well-prepared. We had a great day of prep yesterday. It was a quick turnaround. Overall, we’re just trying to keep this winning streak, just trying to stay consistent, stay hungry. You have to take it one game at a time, prepare for each game like it’s your last, and stay aggressive, stay hungry, and try and win each day. As a team, we’ve had a great mentality toward each game, and I think now it’s just starting to pay off.”
Williams struggled early against Virginia on Saturday and ended up playing limited minutes in the game. He bounced back in a big way helping to punish the Syracuse zone inside.
“I think I just watched (the Virginia game), learned from it,” he said. “Today, my teammates found me in the right places and helped me to do well and get my confidence right back up. But we won against UVa – that’s all that matters. … Today especially, I think my teammates found me in a lot of great spots, whether it was on a fast break, on lobs, or whatever it may be. I think we moved the ball really well today. We were prepared so that makes things a lot easier. We moved the ball, we were locked in on defense, and had a great scouting report. We wanted to control the pace of the game. When you do that, it makes the game a lot easier.”