CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Top-ranked Duke turned to defense to shake off Davidson 67-50 Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Blue Devils, playing their final game before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend, didn't allow a point in the first six minutes of the second half to pull away from a halftime tie.
Ryan Kelly scored 18 points to match his season high, with his 3-pointer extending the lead to 41-29 with 14:18 to play. Davidson's Chris Czerapowicz drained a 15-foot jumper on the Wildcats' next possession to break the second-half scoring drought.
Duke (13-0), which won for 17th consecutive time to start a new calendar year, received two 3-pointers from reserve guard Tyler Thornton in the second-half surge that produced a 48-33 advantage.
Jake Cohen scored 19 points for Southern Conference member Davidson (7-6), which won three of its previous four games. Cohen tallied 13 of the Wildcats' 21 second-half points.
The Wildcats managed only five points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, then scored eight more in the next two minutes to close within 50-42.
Duke's Quinn Cook poured 13 of his 15 points in the second half, and Thornton ended up with 10 points. Duke forward Mason Plumlee, who picked up his fourth foul with 4:34 to play, scored a season-low 10 points.
Duke's Seth Curry made only one of his first five shots from the field while playing in his hometown. The senior guard finished with six points a game after a 31-point outing against Santa Clara.
The score was 29-29 at halftime. The half ended with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski scolding members of the scorer's table when the horn went off even though it was unclear if the clock should have started.
Davidson was within 21-20 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half. A pair Ryan Kelly 3-pointers helped Duke push to a 29-24 edge for its largest lead before the Wildcats scored the last five points of the half.
Davidson stayed close in part because of 12 second-chance points in the first half, with De'Mon Brooks grabbing eight total rebounds. The Wildcats held a 22-15 rebounding advantage before the break.
Duke, playing for the second time in 13 days, hasn't had a halftime lead of more than eight points in its past three games.
The game was played at the home of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, with the crowd basically split. Davidson's campus is 22 miles away, and the Wildcats have played select games in the arena for the past dozen years. Duke is located about a 2 1/2-hour drive away.
NOTES: Duke has opened a season with 13 consecutive victories for the seventh time in Krzyzewski's 33 seasons. The next game comes Saturday at home against Wake Forest. ... The last time Davidson faced a top-ranked Duke team came in the same building exactly 11 years earlier, with Duke winning 106-71. ... Davidson entered the game shooting 79.5 percent (198 of 249) on free throws to rank third nationally. ... Davidson is Duke's most-frequent non-conference opponent, as the teams met for the 106th time.