With each 3-pointer Duke sank on Monday night, the unusually poor play the Blue Devils displayed for most of this season was shoved farther behind them.
Resurgent Duke won its fourth game in a row, drilling a season-high 13 3-pointers to beat Syracuse 85-71 in ACC basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke’s winning streak has come after the Blue Devils (11-8, 9-6 ACC) dropped three consecutive ACC games earlier this month to have its first losing record since 1999.
Two days after knocking off No. 7 Virginia, 66-65, in a physical defensive battle, the Blue Devils poured in jump shots over the Syracuse (13-7, 7-6 ACC) zone to run away and win a game they never trailed.
DJ Steward sank 4 of 10 3-pointers to score 21 points to lead the Blue Devils. Fellow freshman guard Jeremy Roach hit 4 of his 5 3-point shots to score 14 points. Both of the logged seven assists each to lead the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils found ways to score beyond the perimeter as well. Mark Williams, the 7-0 freshman center, scored a career-best 18 points with 11 rebounds. Williams hit 9 of 11 shots.
Matthew Hurt scored 15 points for Duke.
The Blue Devils shot 53.1% overall, including 13 of 29 on 3-pointers (44.8%). Duke led by as many as 22 points in the first half before taking a 52-34 lead at halftime. The Blue Devils led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Syracuse shot 40.6%, making 8 of 24 3-pointers. Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 21 points.
ESPN's Joe Lunardi moves Duke up to the "first four out" of the NCAA Tournament with the Blue Devils' win over Syracuse. He has Colorado State in the last four in.
— Matt L. Stephens (@MattStephens) February 23, 2021
Here are the earlier updates:
Second half update
Duke matched its season high in 3-pointers made in a game and more than seven minutes remained against Syracuse.
Having made 13 of 25 3-pointers, the Blue Devils led 81-59 with 7:39 to play. It’s the most 3-pointers Duke made against an ACC opponent this season. The only other time Duke hit 13 was in a 76-54 nonconference win over Bellarmine on Dec. 4.
DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach each have four 3-pointers for the Blue Devils. Steward leads Duke with 19 points. Roach has 14.
On the interior, Mark Williams reached a season-high with 16 points to go with 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Freshmen guards DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach feasted on Syracuse’s zone defense in the first half, propelling Duke to a 52-34 halftime lead.
Roach hit all five of his shots, including four 3-pointers, to score 14 points. Steward sank 5 of 9 shots, including 3 of 6 3-pointers.
As a team, the Blue Devils hit 20 of 32 shots (65.5%) while sinking 10 of 18 3-pointers. Seven different Duke players scored and the team recorded 17 assists on its 20 field goals.
The Blue Devils hit 14 of their first 20 shots of the game, with eight 3-pointers, to build a 36-14 lead and maintained their pace to lead 42-20 on a Roach 3-pointer with 4:40 left in the half.
Syracuse never led the first half and the game saw one tie at 2-2.
The Orange hit only 7 of their first 23 shots and finished the half 14 of 35 (40%) while hitting 3 of 9 3-pointers. Syracuse turned the ball over six times with Duke recording three steals.
First half update
The Syracuse zone is ineffective if perimeter shots fall and Duke did just that early to take a 36-14 lead over the Orange with 6:33 to play until halftime.
The Blue Devils hit 14 of their first 20 shots (70%), including 8 of 13 on 3-pointers. Freshman guard DJ Steward hit 3 pf 5 3-pointers while scoring 11 points. Fellow freshman guard Jeremy Roach hit all three of his 3-pointers for nine points.
Syracuse, meanwhile, struggled to score while shooting 7 of 23 (30.4%) and missing all five 3-point attempts. The Orange also turned the ball over five times
Duke stays with its same lineup for the sixth consecutive game as the Blue Devils will go with freshmen guards DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach, sophomore forwards Wendell Moore and Matthew Hurt and freshman center Mark Williams. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski first used this lineup when Duke lost to UNC 91-87 on Feb. 6.
While Krzyzewski has used nine different lineups this season, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has only used three. The starting five he’s going with against Duke is the same one he’s used in every Orange game starting with a Dec. 12 win over Boston College. The Syracuse starting five includes Buddy Boeheim, Joseph Girard, Alan Griffin, Quincy Guerrier and Marek Dolezaj.