Syracuse, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils complete a two-game road trip on Saturday, as they take on the Syracuse Orange in an ACC showdown at the Carrier Dome.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils enter with a four-game win streak in tow. Duke was last in action on Monday when the team survived a clash with Florida State in Tallahassee, 73-70. With the win, Duke moved to 21-3 overall and 8-3 in conference play, good for a third-place tie with Louisville and North Carolina. The team is still looking up at Virginia (10-1) and Notre Dame (10-3) in the conference standings.
Jim Boeheim's Orange aren't far behind at 7-4 in-conference. Syracuse has won two of its last three games, moving to 16-8 overall with Wednesday's 70-56 road win at Boston College.
These two teams split a pair of meetings last year, each winning on its home floor. The series is tied at 3-3. Duke and Syracuse will meet again in Durham on Feb. 28.
It was the third game in a six-day span and the Blue Devils definitely showed it, as Florida State hung on to the very end. The Seminoles pulled to within one point with 11 seconds remaining (70-69), before Duke gutted out the win. Senior guard Quinn Cook led the way for the visitors, netting a season-high 26 points. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 assists, while freshman center Jahlil Okafor and freshman forward Justise Winslow added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Duke has dominated the competition for the most part with stellar performances at the offensive end of the floor. The Blue Devils are one of the premier offensive teams in the nation, averaging 80.3 ppg on an impressive .498 shooting. Okafor has been a monster in the paint and has certainly lived up to all the hype surrounding him. The 6-foot-11 freshman leads the ACC in field- goal percentage (.665), is tied for second in scoring (18.0 ppg) and ranks fifth in rebounding (9.1 rpg). Cook is the perfect complement with his perimeter game, averaging 14.7 ppg, with a team-high 63 3-pointers. Jones has proven to be both a solid scorer (11.3 ppg) and distributor (5.3 apg - second in the ACC). Winslow (11.3 ppg) adds to the youth movement in Durham.
A picture of consistency, Syracuse secured its 44th straight winning season with the 14-point win over Boston College on Wednesday. Michael Gbinije led the way with 21 points. Three other players notched double figures for Syracuse, which shot .491 from the floor overall. Trevor Cooney added 15 points to the cause, while Kaleb Joseph (14 pts) and B.J. Johnson (12 pts) made sizable contributions as well. Star forward Rakeem Christmas netted just seven points in the win, but the big man did grab 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Christmas has really elevated his game this season, as the 6-9 senior, who is shooting .582 from the floor, is tied for second in the ACC in scoring (18.0 ppg), while ranking third in the league in rebounding (9.3 rpg). Cooney is the team's resident sniper, averaging 14.8 ppg on a the strength of a team-high 62 3-pointers. Gbinije rounds out the team's top offensive threats with his 12.3 ppg. The vaunted 2-3 Syracuse zone is once again giving opponents problems, with foes averaging just 62.4 ppg and shooting a meager .394 from the field, overall.