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Jim On Duke’s Big Win Over Syracuse

As the young Devils are growing up before our eyes

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Duke
 Feb 15, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Nate Laszewski (14) pulls down a rebound in front of Duke Blue Devils forward Joey Baker (13) during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With apologies to the late, great Duke P.A. announcer Art Chandler, Here Comes Duke.

The Blue Devils dominated Syracuse Monday night, never trailing and leading by as many as 24 points in an 85-71 win. The win gave Duke its first four-game winning streak since winning seven straight last season and moves the Blue Devils to 11-8 overall, 9-6 in the ACC.

Syracuse drops to 13-7, 7-6.

The four wins came in a 10-day span.

“To be able to play the way we did tonight is just outstanding,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “The kids played great.”

The Blue Devils carved up Syracuse’s trademark 2-3 zone, hitting 13 of 29 3 pointers and assisting on 27 of 34 made field goals. Five Blue Devils had at least four assists.

Mike Krzyzewski said Duke took it easy after Saturday night’s bruising win over Virginia.

“I think we’re maturing. We didn’t have to travel, so we were able to segment Sunday. We had them come in around noon on Sunday and gave them feed back from the Virginia game and a preview of Syracuse and then all we did was therapy. Then we brought them back at 5:30. What we wanted to do was get them past Virginia. We didn’t work hard but we thought hard.”

The game was only tied once, at 2-2. The Blue Devils used runs of 6-0, 10-0 and 11-3 to open up a 39-17 lead. Duke got Mark Williams open for a dunk early and then hit 3-pointers by Matt Hurt, Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward before the first media timeout.

“It started on the defensive end,” Jeremy Roach said, “that kind of got us going on the offensive end. The emphasis on the zone was just to stand up, attack it and be aggressive.”

The highlight of the game came about eight minutes in, with Duke up 18-12. Hurt grabbed a defensive rebound and got the ball to Jordan Goldwire, who hit Williams with a mid-court lob that ended in an emphatic dunk.

“J-Gold got it, I ran down the floor, he saw me and threw a great pass and I just finished the play. I can’t mess up his assist and I can’t mess up a dunk.”

A minute later Goldwire again found Williams ahead of the pack for a transition dunk.

“We wanted to control the pace of the game,” Williams said. “It makes the game a lot easier.”

Duke led 52-34 at the half.

But recall that Syracuse overcame a 20-point deficit Saturday to win against Notre Dame.

“We weathered two storms,” Mike Krzyzewski said, the second early in the second half, when Syracuse cut the Duke lead to 14. “They hit us again and you worry about us being tired and emotionally spent and them being good. Instead, after turning it over a couple of times, we started really breaking the press to score and gave us our mojo back again.”

Goldwire hit a couple of 3s, Williams scored twice inside and the lead was back over 20.

Duke didn’t score over the last 4:23, missing the first end of a couple of one-and-ones, losing Buddy Boeheim in transition twice and perhaps showing some signs of fatigue. But the visitors never remotely threatened Duke’s control of the game.

Williams had his first career double-double, 18 points (9 of 11 shooting), 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Williams owned the paint. “I’m just trying to protect the rim,” he said, “just trying to make plays in defense, because if they don’t score, they can’t win.”

And both of Duke’s freshmen point guards were superb. Roach had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists, Steward 21 points and 7 assists.

Hurt had a quiet 15 points but had a career-high five assists, consistently drawing Syracuse defenders to him and finding his teammates.

Krzyzewski called Hurt’s effort “solid” and added “We had him take the ball out of bounds against the press. We tried to get him some corner shots and they really trapped that quickly and it opened up some things for other people. He also has to be worn out because of all the guys, he helped carry us through those three wins.”

“Get some rest and get going again,” Krzyzewski summed up.


Duke is off until Saturday, when Louisville comes to town.

Boeheim lead Syracuse with 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers in nine attempts.

Duke outrebounded Syracuse 39-37 and hit 53 percent from the field. But Duke did turn it over 14 times and only got to the foul line seven times, hitting four, suggesting some areas of improvement.


Player Of The Game vs. Syracuse

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Wendell Moore
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Matthew Hurt
    (4 votes)
  • 88%
    Mark Williams
    (592 votes)
  • 5%
    DJ Steward
    (34 votes)
  • 3%
    Jeremy Roach
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    Henry Coleman
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaemyn Brakefield
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Joey Baker
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (6 votes)
672 votes total Vote Now