The Blue Devils (21-5) came in having lost three of four, including the consecutive losses to North Carolina and Boston College. They looked more like the team that has spent the entire season in the top 10, including one week at No. 1, hitting 3-pointers and converting turnovers into points.
Jon Scheyer had 18 points, Kyle Singler scored 15, Elliot Williams had a career-high 11 and Lance Thomas added nine for Duke. The start was the sixth this season for Thomas and the second for Williams as coach Mike Krzyzewski made some changes to the lineup.
The Blue Devils finished 7-for-15 on 3s (46.7 percent), the first time since Jan. 24 they shot better than 33 percent from beyond the arc. They were 3-for-16 in the loss to Boston College on Sunday.
D. J. Kennedy had 20 points for the Red Storm (12-14), who have lost five straight overall and six in a row to Duke. The Blue Devils have won 13 of the last 15 meetings and this win improves their record at Madison Square Garden in the series to 5-1.
With Singler and Scheyer both going 2-for-3 on 3s in the first half, Duke was able to take a lead as big as 32-18 with 4:48 left and the Blue Devils led 37-26 at halftime. They led by as many as 16 points in the second half, the last time at 60-44 on a jumper by Thomas with 10:09 to play. St. John's closed to 74-69 on two free throws by Malik Boothe with 15.6 seconds to play, but Scheyer made two free throws to seal it.
The Red Storm dropped to 1-6 this season against ranked teams, the lone win over Notre Dame.
Paris Horne, St. John's leading scorer with a 15.0 average, was coming off a 23-point effort that included a career-high six 3-pointers against Marquette. He was held to seven points in a foul-plagued 20 minutes, only the fifth time this season he didn't reach double figures.