Durham, N.C. — No ranking, no postseason implications, and no ejection of Coach Boeheim.
This year’s game between Syracuse and Duke inside Cameron Indoor Stadium didn’t have the same excitement as last year’s matchup, but that didn’t stop fans from squeezing into the stands to watch college basketball’s two winningest coaches go head-to-head.
But it was Coach Krzyzewski who added another “W” to his win column on Saturday, as his No. 4 Blue Devils defeated the Orange by a final score of 73-54.
After the game, Coach K said despite the fact that Duke has won 3-of-4 games against Syracuse since the former Big East school began playing in the ACC last season, the young rivalry isn’t lopsided.
“We have two really good programs, and no one is going to win all the time,” Krzyzewski said. “They have an unusual thing happening for them; their season is going to be over in a week. So, how do you respond to that? So far, they’ve responded great.”
And Coach Boeheim agrees.
Four Players In Double Digits
Despite the loss, Coach Boeheim said he saw good things out of his team that had scoring contributions from multiple players.
“We competed on defense, but you’ve got to make shots to beat and to be in the game with the fourth ranked team in the country,” Boeheim said. “I thought we played alright, but we just didn’t get the ball in the basket. You have to do that, particularly down here.”
Tyler Roberson lead the way in scoring for Syracuse, putting 16 on the scoreboard by the end of the night.
The performance marks the first time the 6’8” sophomore has sat atop the list as the leading scorer for the Orange.
Trevor Cooney accounted for 13 points in the loss, making just 1-of-8 long range shots.
Michael Gbinije struggled from the field, making just 5-of-20 shot attempts for a total of 12 points.
Senior Rakeem Christmas also put up double-digits, scoring 11 points with 5 rebounds.
Christmas fouled out of the game at the 9:42 mark in the second half.
The Orange shot 30 percent from the field, but made just 3-of-20 shot attempts from beyond the arc, which Coach Boeheim said makes defeating a team like Duke even more difficult.
“We cannot compete with Duke if we complete 16 or 15 percent from the three-point line,” Boeheim said. “We’ve got to shoot better.”
On the other side of the court, the Blue Devils shot 48 percent, making 28-of-58 shot attempts.
Duke lead the game by as much as 22 points at the 3:30 mark in the second half, while Syracuse only managed to get ahead of the Blue Devils by three points early in the first half.
Both teams relied heavily on their starters to come through with points, as both benches combined for a total of four points during the entire game.
Early Momentum, But Duke Breaks Away
While the final score shows a dominating performance by the Blue Devils, the Orange kept the game competitive during the first 12 minutes of play.
Not until the 8:06 mark did Duke begin to break away from Syracuse after Justise Winslow sank a three-pointer, putting the Blue Devils ahead by a score of 20-16.
Coach K’s team never gave up the lead after that shot.
The Blue Devils went into halftime with a 34-25 lead over the Orange.
In the second 20 minutes of play, Syracuse continued to struggle on offense.
Cooney took several shots from the three-point line, but only managed to connect on one attempt throughout the evening, prompting a group of Cameron Crazies to applaud each time the senior had possession of the ball.
“Keep taking shots, Trevor!” one Duke student yelled out. “Cooney is our MVP!”
But Cooney wasn’t the only Syracuse player to struggle.
Shot after shot from the Orange failed to make it inside the basket all night, allowing Duke to surge ahead in the final minutes of play.
Michael Gbinije said all of those missed shots cancelled out the good aspects of his team’s performance.
“I think we got good looks,” Gbinije said. “We just didn’t hit tonight. That basically sums it all up.”
The Blue Devils ended the game with a three-pointer by Matt Jones with eight seconds left on the clock, and moments later, walked off the court with a 73-54 win over the Orange.
Another Tough Test
The loss puts Syracuse at 18-11 overall, with a 9-7 record in the ACC.
No. 4 Duke improves to 26-3 and 13-3 in conference play.
The Orange heads back to Syracuse for its last home-game of the season when it plays host to No. 2 Virginia on Monday night in the Dome at 7 p.m.
The Cavaliers come into the game with just one loss on their record — a loss at home to the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils back in January.