Often plagued by poor shooting spells this season, Duke blitzed Syracuse’s famed zone defense Saturday to post a comfortable win.
Led by Dariq Whitehead’s four 3-pointers, the Blue Devils shot 54.5% overall to top the Orange, 77-55, in ACC basketball before a crowd of 31,063 at the JMA Wireless Dome.
The Blue Devils (19-8, 10-6 ACC) hit 13 of 26 3-pointers, their season-high for 3-pointers made in an ACC game this season.
Junior guard Jeremy Roach hit three 3-pointers while scoring 17 points to pace Duke.
A 6-7 freshman, Whitehead scored 14 points off the bench. He scored 11 of those points in the first half to help Duke build a lead as large as 19 points.
Fellow freshman Kyle Filipowski scored 14 points for Duke, which won its third ACC road game of the season.
Joe Girard scored 21 points for Syracuse while Judah Mintz added 18. But their teammates contributed little else as the Orange (16-11, 9-7) shot just 35.2 percent
Duke’s 21-2 run late in the first half turned a 19-19 tie into a 40-21 lead for the Blue Devils.
After turning the ball over seven times in the game’s first 12 minutes, Duke had only one turnover during that push.
Jacob Grandison started the Duke scoring explosion at 7:04 with a 3-pointer. Roach hit two free throws before Dereck Lively’s blocked shot started a Duke fast break that Proctor ended with a 3-pointer.
Mintz temporarily stopped Duke’s onslaught with a basket but the Blue Devils responded with 13 consecutive points.
That run started when, after Grandison missed a 3-pointer, Lively snared the rebound and kicked it out for a Roach 3-pointer. Whitehead hit another 3-pointer before Filipowski scored a transition layup and added his own 3-pointer.
Roach’s basket in the lane after a baseline drive put Duke up 40-21 with 2:25 left in the first half.
The Blue Devils didn’t score the rest of the half as the Orange tallied the final six points to leave Duke with a 40-27 lead at the break.
Duke shot 55.6% in the first half, including 8 of 14 on 3-pointers.