DURHAM, N.C. – Nolan Smith scored a season-high 28 points to help No. 1 Duke beat Miami 74-63 on Sunday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Reserve guard Andre Dawkins added 16 points for the Blue Devils (13-0, 1-0), who have won 23 straight games dating to last season's run to the ACC and NCAA tournament championships. Kyle Singler added 14 points on a night when the Blue Devils didn't shoot all that well but still maintained a comfortable lead for much of the game.
Smith had a run of 13 straight points in the first half that gave Duke its double-digit lead, though the Hurricanes (11-4, 0-1) played the reigning national champions basically even the rest of the way.
Reggie Johnson tied his career high with 22 points despite battling foul trouble much of the game for Miami, which shot 37 percent and missed 14 of 17 3-point attempts.
The Blue Devils led by 13 points at halftime and Miami twice got as close as nine, the last time at 56-47 on a layup by Durand Scott with about 6½ minutes to play. But the Blue Devils answered with a 7-0 run that ended when Dawkins buried a jumper from the top followed by a long 3 to make it 63-47 with 4:33 left.
Smith went 9 of 15 from the field and capped his night with a long 3 — his fourth of the game — to beat the shot clock with about a minute left.
Duke has dominated the series overall, winning 10 of 11 meetings since Miami joined the ACC before the 2004-05 season. But the Hurricanes had played the Blue Devils well of late, edging Duke by one at home in 2008, losing by three in overtime here in 2009, losing by seven at home in the regular season last season then by three in the ACC tournament semifinals
This one fit right in for about 15 minutes. Miami's guards repeatedly blew by defenders and penetrated into the paint to set up teammates for open shots in close, helping the Hurricanes stay within 22-20 with about 5 minutes left in the half.
But that's when Smith got rolling. First came a shot in the lane, followed by a 3-pointer.
Then another 3.
A little more than a minute after that four-possession flurry, Smith lost Scott around a screen and blew in for a slam that sent Cameron Indoor Stadium into a frenzy and gave Duke a 35-22 lead with 1:48 left before halftime.
As for the Hurricanes, they couldn't blame their big halftime deficit on Smith alone. They shot 9 of 35 (26 percent) and made just 1 of 10 3-point tries, though the majority of their misses seemed to come in the paint.
It also hurt that Johnson played just 5 minutes in the half after picking up two quick fouls and sat on the bench as Duke built its lead.