Chestnut Hill, MA – There was nearly another upset in college basketball on Sunday, but No. 4 Duke scored the last six points -- the final three on Mason Plumlee free throws -- to steal a 62-61 decision over Boston College at Conte Forum.
The Blue Devils (21-2, 8-2 ACC) almost joined the rest of the top-5 with losses this week, but narrowly survived a surprisingly tight battle against a team that sits at the bottom of the conference with Virginia Tech.
"Nothing about today was easy," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "These are games anybody can lose, and throughout the country everybody is losing them. Our guys found a way to win against a team that was also deserving to win, so that's a real good thing."
Plumlee finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds and hit the go-ahead free throw with 24 seconds remaining, while Seth Curry chipped in 18 points in Duke's fifth straight win.
Olivier Hanlan led Boston College (10-13, 2-8) with 20 points, but missed a potential game-winning jumper from just inside the right elbow in the closing seconds.
"He normally makes those shots," Boston College coach Steve Donahue said of Hanlan's potential game-winner. "I don't think he was nervous. He wants to be really good."
Duke, which hosts rival North Carolina on Wednesday, led most of the second half, but never by more than six points.
The Eagles went on a late 6-0 run, and Ryan Anderson's putback of a Joe Rahon miss put the hosts in front, 57-55, with under five minutes to play.
After Plumlee made 1-of-2 at the foul line, Anderson scored again inside and Hanlan connected twice from the stripe for a 61-56 lead with 2:15 remaining.
Quinn Cook answered with a 3-pointer to pull the Blue Devils within two, and Anderson hit the back iron on a long jumper. Plumlee was fouled with 46.6 seconds on the clock and calmly sank both to tie things.
Rahon missed badly on a corner try, and Plumlee was fouled going for the rebound after the ball hit the corner of the backboard. The Player of the Year candidate missed the first before hitting the go-ahead freebie.
After a timeout with 18.2 left, Hanlan's pullup from 10 feet missed everything but the backboard, and the scramble for the loose ball ticked off the remaining seconds.
Duke committed three turnovers and missed all five field goal attempts in the first five minutes. Boston College was slow out of the gate as well, making 2- of-8 to start before scoring seven in a row to jump in front, 13-5, nine minutes in.
The Blue Devils scored the next six points, but still didn't take their first lead until Plumlee finished off a three-point play for a 25-24 edge with one minute remaining in the half.
A Hanlan 3-pointer and Plumlee dunk made it a 27-27 game at intermission.
Duke has won three straight on the road after dropping its previous two as the visitor ... Seth Curry helped he and Stephen Curry pass Tyler and Ben Hansbrough as the highest scoring brother tandem in NCAA history with 4,493 points ... Duke has taken six straight meetings ... The Blue Devils were playing their 200th straight game ranked in the top-10 ... Anderson netted 17 points in defeat.