After a resounding road win over its arch-rival gave Duke a two-game lead in the ACC, the Blue Devils’ biggest enemy on Saturday may not be Boston College but a potential letdown.
The No. 2 Blue Devils look to win their 11th straight game on Saturday when they host the struggling Eagles, who have lost five straight overall and seven in a row against Duke.
After beating No. 3 North Carolina 89-78 at Chapel Hill on Wednesday, Duke (20-1, 8-0) is in control of the ACC halfway through its conference slate, two games ahead of the Tar Heels and at least three in front of every other team.
With three of their next four games against teams currently in the league’s bottom half, the Blue Devils have to remain motivated after the emotional high from winning a high-stakes rivalry game.
“That’s the thing about the ACC,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “You cannot celebrate too much.”
The Blue Devils had reason to rejoice after ending a three-game skid against North Carolina.
Six players scored in double figures, led by Greg Paulus’ 18 points. Paulus also made six of Duke’s 13 3-pointers.
“We know who we are,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re a very unconventional team. We’re not a strong physical team, but we are a strong team emotionally, a real together group.”
Kyle Singler had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Jon Scheyer added 17 points off the bench and DeMarcus Nelson had 13 points and five assists against North Carolina as Duke won its eighth straight in the ACC, its longest run in conference since winning 14 in a row to start the 2005-06 schedule.
“We’re looking to take over this league,” said Duke guard Gerald Henderson, who had 12 points Wednesday. “We hope that we can continue to play like this and win like this. … We just want to continue to add in the left side of the column.”
The Blue Devils, who are a 65-64 overtime loss to Pittsburgh away from still being unbeaten, have been especially dominant at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where BC has never won in three visits.
Duke hasn’t won a home game by fewer than 13 points this season, going 11-0 and winning by an average of 27.5 points.
BC, meanwhile, has lost three straight road games by an average of 20.6 points. The Eagles (12-9, 3-5) have shot just 41.6 percent during their five-game overall losing streak, which is their longest skid since dropping 12 in a row during the 1999-2000 season.
The Eagles lost 70-65 at home to Maryland on Wednesday, allowing the Terrapins to shoot 51.9 percent. BC senior forward John Oates had a career-high 21 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting night in the defeat.
BC guard Tyrese Rice is second in the ACC with 19.5 points per game, but has struggled in his career against Duke, averaging just 9.5 points in four games. He had 13 points in his lone visit to Durham, a 75-61 loss last season.
The Eagles haven’t beaten Duke since the second round of the 1985 NCAA Tournament, their only win in nine meetings in the series.