Vernon Carey Jr. feasted against Syracuse’s zone defense for 26 points as No. 9 Duke pulled out a 97-88 victory on the road Saturday night at the Carrier Dome.
Duke (18-3, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) began a three-game stretch of road games by pushing its winning streak to three games.
Trey Jones benefited from late-game free throws to end up with 17 points, Cassius Stanley posted 15 points, Matthew Hurt added 12 points and reserve Alex O’Connell had 11 points for Duke. Carey, a freshman center who made 9 of 14 shots from the field and 8 of 10 on free throws, added 17 rebounds.
Six Duke players all made one 3-point basket, so the Blue Devils had a perimeter presence to go with Carey’s efforts in the lane. Duke compiled all this offense despite 19 turnovers.
Syracuse’s Marek Dolezaj poured in a career-best 22 points, while Elijah Hughes (21 points), Joseph Girard (17) and Buddy Boeheim (13) also scored in double figures.
Syracuse (13-9, 6-5) has lost back-to-back games since a five-game winning streak.
The Orange shot 6-for-26 on 3-point attempts as Duke’s defense continued to be the strongest in the ACC against 3-point shooters.
Duke has won three straight against Syracuse, including two at the Carrier Dome. Saturday night’s attendance of 31,458 reflected the largest college basketball crowd of the season.
Duke began to pull away by going up 49-39 early in the second half. The lead grew to 62-47.
Boeheim sank only one of a three-shot foul at the 3:50 mark as the Orange closed within 79-70. Girard made two fouls shots 13 seconds later and Bourama Sidibe scored after a Duke turnover to close the gap to 79-74.
Stanley’s three-point play helped steady the Blue Devils. He produced another three-point play with 1:26 remaining for a 91-82 edge.
Duke led 40-36 at halftime, shooting 53.6 percent from the field compared to Syracuse’s 38.2 percent. Syracuse guards Boeheim and Girard were a combined 3-for-14 at the break.
Duke assistant coach Jon Scheyer missed the game after an emergency appendectomy earlier in the day.
—Field Level Media