The Syracuse Orange came into their biggest home game of the season and played twelve good minutes before the Duke Blue Devils took over. Duke coasted in the second half to a 77-55 win which put a big pin those Orange bubble hopes.
Early on, the defense was engaged and active as Judah Mintz picked up two steals and dunks to keep the crowd engaged and loud.
The game was tied at 19 at the under-8 media timeout and then Duke went on a 21-2 run over the next five minutes. Syracuse was able to score the last six points of the half and went into the break down 40-27. Mintz had 10 at the break but Syracuse had only 5 assists while Duke had 12 assists and were 8-14 from deep on open looks. Mintz, Jesse Edwards and Joe Girard were a combined 8-15 from the field in the first half, but the rest of the Orange were 3-13.
Syracuse came out quick with a 3 from Mintz and 3 free throws from Girard to make it a 42-33 game but Dariq Whitehead hit his 5th 3 of the game and the momentum was quelled. Jim Boeheim was desperate to find something that worked as we saw Quadir Copeland, who hadn’t played since the game at Virginia Tech, and a line-up with Symir Torrence, Mintz and Copeland together.
Girard finally got a clean look and knocked down a 3 to make it 55-40 with 11 minutes to play. He got a friendly “roll” on the next possession and it was 57-43 and the crowd of 31,000 had some life.
Every time the Orange made a push, Duke answered. Syracuse tried the press but the Blue Devils broke it with ease and attacked the rim. It was a 64-48 game at the under-8 timeout. Girard was the only offense in the second half. He hit his 3rd 3 of the half which made it a 69-51 game with 5 1⁄2 to play. As good as he was on offense, he and the rest of the Orange were non-existent on defense as Duke got open look after open look.
Duke did a good job of limiting Edwards who only had 3 shot attempts as the Orange gave up trying to get him the ball in scoring positions. Instead, it was a lot of isolation play on offense that never threatened the Duke defense.
Syracuse falls to 16-11 on the season, 9-7 in ACC play. Girard led the way with 21 points, Mintz had 18 and the rest of the team combined for 16. Filipowski had a double-double for Duke with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jeremy Roach had 17 and Whitehead finished with 14 as Duke hit 13 3’s and had 22 assists.