Duke stays hot by blasting Syracuse

Durham, NC ( - Justise Winslow and Duke kept on rolling, with the freshman forward pouring in a season-best 23 points to lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to a 73-54 triumph over Syracuse.

Duke (26-3, 13-3 ACC) also turned in a strong effort on defense in posting its ninth consecutive win and keeping its ACC regular-season title hopes alive. The Blue Devils held the Orange to 30.6 percent shooting, including a 3-of-20 performance from 3-point range, and forced 15 turnovers.

Winslow has averaged 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds over Duke's run.

"It feels great to beat Syracuse," said Winslow. "It puts us in a better position in conference play with our record. We just wanted to go out there and compete, and that's what we did as a team tonight."

Syracuse (18-11, 9-7) failed to build on the momentum gained from Tuesday's 65-60 win over No. 9 Notre Dame, largely due to its offensive woes and inability to contain Winslow or Jahlil Okafor, who contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds to the rout.

Quinn Cook added 17 points for Duke.

Tyler Roberson's 16 points and nine boards paced the Orange, with Trevor Cooney and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

"Today we did not play well offensively," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "We are approaching it one game at a time, just to play the best that we can. There are 300 NCAA teams that are not going to the NCAA tournament this year. I would hope they are playing hard every night. I know they are."

Duke got off to a sloppy start, turning the ball over seven times in the first eight minutes while trailing 13-10 early on. The teams were tied at 14-14 midway through the opening half before the Blue Devils began to assume control.

Winslow led the charge, netting nine of his 15 first-half points during a 12-4 run that staked Duke to a 26-18 lead with five minutes left in the period. The Blue Devils were later up by 11 following another Winslow basket that preceded two free throws from Cook, and owned a 34-25 advantage at the break after Syracuse's Ron Patterson converted a layup with 36 seconds remaining.

The Orange committed 10 giveaways for the stanza, which Duke converted into 12 points.

Sharp perimeter shooting by the Blue Devils, along with a prolonged cold spell from Syracuse, enabled Duke to pull away further in the second half.

Consecutive treys from Matt Jones and Winslow ignited a 13-2 surge, which Winslow capped with another triple, that extended the margin to 51-33 with 12 minutes left. The Orange didn't make a basket during the stretch, going 0-of-6 from the field.

Syracuse continued to struggle offensively the rest of the way, never getting the deficit under 15 points.

Game Notes

Duke trails second-ranked Virginia, which lost to the Blue Devils on Jan. 31, by two games in the ACC standings with two to play. Duke wraps up the regular season with a home date against Wake Forest and a trip to rival North Carolina ... Okafor had 23 points and Cook 17 in the Blue Devils' 80-72 win at Syracuse earlier this month ... Cooney went 5-of-16 from the floor and 1-of-8 on 3- point attempts ... Syracuse leading scorer Rakeem Christmas had 11 points before fouling out with 9:42 to play.