No. 10 Duke holds off Boston College 66-63
BOSTON (AP)—The Duke Blue Devils didn’t make as many free throws as they usually do. They just made the ones they needed most.
Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith scored 21 points apiece, each hitting two foul shots in the last 26 seconds after No. 10 Duke nearly squandered a 10-point halftime lead and the Blue Devils held on to beat Boston College 66-63 on Saturday.
Duke (19-4, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) missed five straight free throws in the middle of the game and two more in the final minute, helping BC cut the deficit to 64-63 on Reggie Jackson’s long, high-arcing 3-pointer with 16 seconds left. Scheyer was fouled after he received the inbound pass, then made both free throws to force BC to try another 3 for the tie.
But Jackson couldn’t get a clear look at the basket and passed off to Joe Trapani, who was momentarily open. Seven-foot-1 Brian Zoubek ran out to put a hand in front of the 6-8 Trapani and made him put the ball on the ground before sending a long 3-point attempt off the front of the rim at the buzzer.
“I saw Trapani wide open. It’s the last thing you want to see when you’ve got a three-point lead,” Zoubek said. “He made one dribble, a pump fake and shot it off balance.”
Said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski: “We didn’t want Jackson to take the last shot. Let’s put it that way.”
Duke, which entered the game with a 76.6 percent free throw mark that was the fifth-best in the nation, finished the game 15 of 26 from the line.
“Up until the last few times, we were 11 of 20 from the free throw line,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s not very good, for those of you that don’t have a calculator.”
Corey Raji had 15 points and eight rebounds for BC (12-11, 3-6), which has lost seven of its last 10 games. Among them was a 20-point loss at Duke on Jan. 13.
“We came a long way (since then),” Raji said. “The next day in practice, the intensity changed. That was an embarrassing loss. But if we play with this effort, I feel like we will put ourselves in a good place for the ACC tournament.”
It was the second straight payback win for the Blue Devils, who were coming off a victory over a Georgia Tech team that had beaten them earlier this season. BC upset then-No. 6 Duke in Chestnut Hill last season, sending the crowd storming onto the court to celebrate just its second win ever over the Blue Devils.
“It’s our second win in 43 hours. I’m proud of our guys, playing a very good Georgia Tech team and then coming up here to face a Boston College team that was well prepared for us,” Krzyzewski said. “We got better this week.”
Duke plays archrival North Carolina on Wednesday.
Two nights after making 12 of 18 3-point attempts against Georgia Tech, Duke missed its first six tries from beyond the arc; the Blue Devils finished 5 of 17 from 3-point range in all.
But they closed the first half with seven straight points to open a 35-25 lead.
Tyler Roche hit two free throws for BC to cut the deficit to 58-53 with just under 2 minutes left. But Smith drove to the basket and hit a hooking layup off the backboard and, after free throws left it 62-60 with 28 seconds left, Smith hit two foul shots to make it a four-point game.
Jackson hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 64-63 with 16 seconds left. Scheyer hit his free throws, then neither Jackson nor Trapani could get a clear look at the rim before Trapani had to fire up a shot at the buzzer.
Kyle Singler, who had a season-high 30 against Georgia Tech, was 4 of 14 from the field for 12 points.