A Strong Start In Cameron

Five Blue Devils hit double figures as Duke rolled past Princeton, 97-60 in the season opener.

DURHAM, N.C. – Nolan Smith scored 22 points and No. 1 Duke opened its season by beating Princeton 97-60 on Sunday in the first round of the CBE Classic.

Freshman Kyrie Irving had 17 points and Kyle Singler added 16 for the Blue Devils, who shot 55 percent and hit 14 3-pointers.

Opening a season as the top-ranked team for the seventh time, the Blue Devils never trailed and broke it open by outscoring the Tigers 24-11 during the first 8 minutes of the second half. The reigning national champions also did it with defense, forcing 27 turnovers and turning those into 36 points.

Dan Mavraides scored 16 points to lead the Tigers (1-1). They outrebounded the Blue Devils 31-29 but never got closer than 11 in the second half and fell to 1-18 in the series.

The schools met in the first game played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a 36-27 victory by Duke in 1940.

Mike Krzyzewski moved four victories shy of 800 at the school and improved to 30-1 in home openers at Duke. The Blue Devils pushed their decade-long nonconference winning streak at Cameron to 77 games and won their 43rd straight home game against unranked opponents. Fittingly, the holder of another impressive streak was in the crowd — Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

This one initially figured to provide an interesting contrast between the Blue Devils' newly installed, high-energy defense and the patient, backdoor-cutting offense that has been the Tigers' signature. But Duke's pressure routinely frustrated Princeton, preventing the Tigers from working the ball to their center and created 17 turnovers in the first half.

Despite that, the Blue Devils led just 34-28 with less than 90 seconds before the break, but reeled off the final eight points of the half on 3-pointers roughly 20 seconds apart from Smith and Singler. That pushed the lead into double figures to stay.

And then came the big run. Mason Plumlee started it with a layup 15 seconds into the half, and Irving scored eight points during the burst. His free throw with 15:14 left made it a 20-point game for the first time, and his 3-pointer with about 12 minutes to play pushed it to 66-39.

Liberty transfer Seth Curry scored 14 points in his Duke debut and Andre Dawkins added 11 for the Blue Devils, who hit 20 of 30 shots after halftime.

Ian Hummer added 14 points for Princeton, which was playing its first game against a reigning national champion since the Tigers' memorable upset of UCLA in the 1996 NCAA tournament. Princeton coach Sydney Johnson was a guard on that team.

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