The Duke basketball team held off a late Syracuse comeback bid to defeat the Orange in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night.
It was yet another slow start for the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night, but Mike Krzyzewski‘s team had a response to defeat the Syracuse Orange, 97-88.
The Orange led by seven mid-way through the first half but the intensity and effort of Javin DeLaurier was able to flip the script and Duke took its first lead of the game with 46 seconds left in the first half.
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DeLaurier would then notch a bucket to give the Blue Devils a four point lead entering halftime and Duke never looked back, despite a potential Syracuse comeback in the final minutes of the game.
The Blue Devils lead was extended to as many as 15 points but Syracuse cut Duke’s lead to as little as five points with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
Each time the Orange threatened late in the game, Duke got an answer from two Cassius Stanley ‘and-one’s’ in which the freshman just gracefully flew through the air.
Stanley finished with 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists on 6-of-8 shooting but the Blue Devils were led by Vernon Carey Jr. with his 26 points and career high 17 rebounds.
Carey Jr. was 9-of-14 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free throw line as Duke picked up win No. 18 on the season and No. 8 in ACC play.
Saturday also was career win 1,150 for head coach Mike Krzyzewski as he was coaching shorthanded on Saturday night as Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer left the Carrier Dome this morning and had to undergo an emergency appendectomy while Director of Basketball Operations Nolan Smith remained in Durham to deal with a family medical situation.
Duke did get the services of Wendell Moore back who had not played since January 4 after breaking a bone in his hand that required surgery.
Moore came off the bench and finished with five points, one rebound, three assists, and one steal while fouling out and turning the ball over five times.
Tre Jones struggled at time with his decision making, committing four of Duke’s 19 turnovers, but the sophomore point guard was rock solid at the free throw line, making all ten of his attempts, resulting in 17 points, three rebounds, and six assists.
Once in a major slump, Alex O’Connell appeared to snap out of that on Saturday night with his 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting while DeLaurier was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for eight points and four rebounds but fouled out of the game.
Joey Baker was the only member of the usual ten-man rotation for the Blue Devils that did not get any minutes on Saturday night.
Duke will continue its three game road trip as the Blue Devils head to Boston College to face the Eagles for the second time this season and will face a team at home coming off a win in Chapel Hill for the third time this season.