Jahlil Okafor leads Duke past Toledo

Freshman center scores 27 points and grabs eight rebounds to pace the Blue Devils against Toledo as Duke moves to 11-0 on the season with a 17 point win.

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Freshman center Jahlil Okafor scored a season-high 27 points and No. 2 Duke beat pesky Toledo 86-69 on Monday night.

Quinn Cook added a season-best 20 points and Tyus Jones had 15 for Duke (11-0), which was playing its first game since Dec. 18.

The Blue Devils raced out to a big early lead, then allowed Toledo to shoot itself back into the game before eventually pulling away.

Okafor was 12 of 15 from the field while reaching the 20-point mark for the fourth time in six games.

Julius Brown scored 19 for Toledo (7-5), which erased most of a 14-point deficit by making 13 of 15 shots over a 9½-minute stretch. Brown's 3-pointer about 90 seconds into the second half cut Duke's lead to 47-44.

Okafor then reeled off seven straight points to start the decisive 21-9 spurt.

Okafor's personal run included transition dunks 20 seconds apart and a stickback of Justise Winslow's missed 3 to put the Blue Devils up 54-44 with 16 minutes left.

Jones capped the run with the play that finally allowed Duke to exhale: a four-point play in which he swished a 3 through contact from Jonathan Williams, then hit the free throw that followed to make it 68-53 with 9:10 to play.

Toledo — which missed eight of its next 11 shots after Brown's 3 — never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Justin Drummond and J.D. Weatherspoon added 14 points apiece and Williams had 10 for the Mid-American Conference favorite Rockets. They return four starters from a team that won a school-record 27 games in 2013-14 and stuck around until late in a loss at Kansas.

This time, the Rockets overcame a brutal start and put quite a scare into Duke. They did it by mostly defending Okafor with only one man — most every other opponent has put two defenders on the 6-foot-11 preseason All-American — and keeping the heat on the other Blue Devils.

And once Toledo found its shooting stroke, it worked: The Rockets hit eight straight shots and 11 of their final 14 of the first half to make things tense, trailing just 41-37 at the break.

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TIP-INS

Toledo: The Rockets had their five-game winning streak snapped. They were denied their first win over a ranked team since beating Michigan State in 2002.

Duke: The Blue Devils won their 29th straight December game, a streak that dates to a 2009 loss at Wisconsin.

UP NEXT

Toledo is at Northern Kentucky on Jan. 3.

Duke is home against Wofford on Wednesday.

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