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Duke 97, Syracuse 72: Blue Devils drag Orange in final regular season meeting between Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski

Syracuse fell to 15-14 on the season and 9-9 in ACC play after the home loss to Duke.

Duke v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team fell to the Blue Devils, 97-72, in front of a Carrier Dome crowd of 31,803. In what was the final meeting between Mike from Durham and Jim Boeheim—hot on cameo—inside the Carrier Dome, Duke ran away with the contest early and never looked back.

Synonymous with the first meeting, AJ Griffin started things off with an open three and Syracuse struggled to make shots. Duke took an 11-0 lead into the first media timeout.

Despite Buddy Boeheim’s best effort to keep Syracuse afloat by scoring the ball, Duke found success from outside early in the form of wide-open looks as Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin got going. The two wings each started 4-5 from deep and Duke led 31-9 at the second media timeout.

Syracuse tried to regain control with its bench as Benny Williams scored on a reverse layup, which was subsequently followed by a Bourama Sidibe charge. Williams scored again, this time on a mid-range pull-up on Joey Baker. But Duke’s Banchero answered with a three to swing it back.

Then, Torrence took a hard hit to the head on a drive to the rim and fell to ground. Shaken up on the play—without a whistle—Torrence went to the bench with a cut on his head. He’d have to get stitches and wouldn’t return to the contest. Syracuse fans weren’t bashful in letting the refereeing crew know what was on their mind, shouting pleasantries such as, “Do your job!” and, “Nice work, three blind mice!”

Duke v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

It wouldn’t get much better for the Orange after the fact as Duke continued its torrid shooting. Duke led 41-13 at the under eight minute media timeout on 7-9 outside shooting. A Sidibe 5-0 run made it 41-18, but he picked up his second foul at the 5:31 mark.

John Bol Ajak made then made a first half appearance with over two minutes to play. He promptly made an assist to a backdoor cutting Buddy Boeheim, fueling a 7-0 run by the youngest Boeheim brother to end the half.

Buddy did all he could, scoring 17 first half points on 7-12 shooting, but Duke shot 18-29 (60.0%) from the floor, including 10-17 (58.8%) from three and led 51-34 at the half.

Duke v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Buddy continued his scoring right out of the intermission with another jumper, but his 9-0 run was ended on a Mark Williams dunk as a second-half theme presented itself.

Displeased with his front-court, Jim Boeheim reinserted Bol Ajak, Williams and Sidibe less than two minutes into the half and he rode the front-court unit for over six minutes. Williams produced off the bench as he scored inside, but Duke’s Wendell Moore had a raucous runout dunk to put an end to Syracuse’s ephemeral momentum. Moore hit a wide open triple just before the first media timeout to make it 65-45.

Syracuse tried to claw back and with Duke taking away 3-point looks for Buddy and Girard, the two backcourt mates worked inside the line for mid-range shots, but Duke had answers at every turn. The Orange cut Duke’s lead to 16, but never edged closer.

Williams was a bright-spot on a rather dull night on the court for Syracuse. He grabbed an offensive rebound and a mid-range jumper gave him a career-high in points and rebounds.

On a night when Syracuse sorely missed Jesse Edwards, rebounding proved to be problematic. Duke opened up a 35-18 advantage late in the second-half on the boards for 17 second-chance point. Duke’s Williams, who finished with a double-double, scored time and again down low. The Orange simply didn’t have an answer for the Duke bigs in the post.

With Duke in firm control with a 25 point lead, both head coaches inserted walk-ons with 1:34 left in the game. Chris LaValle scored late and Duke dribbled out the clock as Syracuse fell to 15-14 on the season.

Final Stats

Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse with 23 points while Girard added 18. Williams finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

Duke shot 35-65 from the floor and 15-32 from beyond the 3-point line. Griffin, Banchero and Williams all scored over 20 points for Duke. Duke out-rebounded Syracuse 38-25.

Next Up

Syracuse travels to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina. That game tips at 7 p.m. on ESPN as part of Big Monday.