The phantom vitality of the Cameron Loopy ghosts from Duke’s exhilarating nail-biter victory towards Virginia simply two days in the past by no means appeared to vanish.
Duke slammed onerous on the gasoline pedal from the opening tip on each side of the ground, placing Syracuse away en path to an 85-71 win and four-game win streak.
“To have the ability to play the best way we did tonight was excellent,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski stated. “You play 4 video games in 10 days and that’s powerful for any group. To have 4 wins is nice.”
The Blue Devils’ (11-8, 9-6 within the ACC) season-long enchancment was placed on full show towards the Orange from the primary possession, as breakout middle Mark Williams completed a standing alley-oop from DJ Steward to right away poke a gap by way of Syracuse’s notorious 2-3 zone. Williams earned his first profession double-double, ending with a career-high 18 factors, 11 rebounds and two blocks, making a big impact on each ends of the ground.
“These final 4 wins that we had all began on the defensive finish and that’s what bought our offense going,” Jeremy Roach stated. “Mark Williams was enormous for us…simply wonderful. He was on the glass all evening simply battling his ass off, so I respect him.
The Blue Devils’ perimeter defenders have been in a position to play aggressive and take dangers towards Syracuse’s finest 3-point shooters, realizing that Williams can be there to wash up any errors. The Duke protection was as linked and energetic because it has been all season, because the Blue Devils turned Syracuse (13-7, 7-6) over 11 instances within the contest. Main the cost was none apart from Jordan Goldwire, who got here up with two steals general.
Duke’s contagious scorching hand from deep was what actually busted down the doorways of the approaching blowout. If a group fails to hit its 3-pointers towards Syracuse’s zone protection, it makes it very troublesome to get into any type of offensive rhythm. Seasoned sophomore Wendell Moore Jr. took it upon himself to be sure that wouldn’t be the case for Duke, pulling up from deep with confidence for the Blue Devils’ first 3-pointer of the evening simply over a minute in. On Duke’s subsequent two possessions, freshman guards Roach and Steward joined in on the enjoyable, hitting photographs of their very own from downtown.
“We knew our time was going to return,” Roach stated. “We’re getting linked on the finish of the season on the proper time, so I’m excited.”
The backcourt duo of Steward and Roach was deadly from deep within the first half, going 3-for-6 and 4-for-4, respectively. This one-two punch has lastly discovered its stride on the offensive facet of the ball, and the methodology behind their enchancment appears easy: simply let it fly. Roach and Steward are high quality shooters, and far to the dismay of Syracuse, the freshman duo is now nicely conscious of that truth.
Duke’s present win streak wouldn’t be attainable with out the heroics of Matthew Damage, and he made positive to affix the celebration towards the Orange, scoring 15 factors on 5-of-11 capturing. Damage additionally performed an enormous function in dismantling Syracuse’s zone, frequently getting the ball in the midst of the ground and within the corners, working his faceup magic time and time once more.
It actually did really feel just like the Cameron Crazies have been alive and nicely Monday evening. Syracuse ranked sixth within the nation in free throw proportion heading into the sport and uncharacteristically went 7-of-12 from the charity stripe. Virtually each 50-50 ball ended up within the palms of a Blue Satan. And usually, any momentum Syracuse tried to safe by way of random scoring runs and some spotlight performs was ultimately matched by Duke, which refused to let up.
The Blue Devils haven’t had a really perfect season by any means, however at the moment final week, their NCAA match possibilities have been nonexistent. However because of immense enchancment on each side of the ball as of late, there may be new life on this group. It’s onerous to foretell what the match committee will determine when it comes right down to Choice Sunday, but when the Blue Devils preserve rolling as they’ve these previous couple video games, it will likely be onerous for the committee to disclaim them.
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Duke will attempt to feed off its monster win when it welcomes Louisville to Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday.