Barrett, Williamson lead Duke back to No. 1 in the AP poll

With an Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry game scheduled Wednesday at home against North Carolina, the Duke Blue Devils are back on top.

They moved up one spot to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Monday morning when the 16th poll of the season was published.

The Tennessee Volunteers had been No. 1 for four straight weeks, but they took a tumble following an 86-69 loss to Kentucky at Lexington.

Now, the top five includes Duke at No. 1, followed by Gonzaga, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Bolstered by one of the most talented freshmen classes in Mike Krzyzewski’s career, Duke started the year at No. 4 in the preseason.

They’ve been up and down since then, ranked No. 1 in Weeks 2 and 3 and then again from 8-11 and now in Week 16.

Two freshmen forwards entered the season with high expectations, and both are delivering.

RJ Barrett leads the Blue Devils in scoring, averaging 22.7 points and 7.4 rebounds, while Zion Williamson averages 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks.

Barrett recorded Duke’s first triple-double in 13 years, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high 10 assists in a 94-78 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday night.

Williamson also played well, scoring 32 points on 12 of 16 shooting.

In the ACC, Duke leads the standings at 11-1, with Virginia and North Carolina trailing at 10-2.

Duke has already swept two games from Virginia.

Now, the Blue Devils will test the eighth-ranked Tar Heels for the first time this year on Wednesday in Durham.

The two teams will play again on March 9 in Chapel Hill.

AP Top 25

1. Duke 23-2 ACC
2. Gonzaga 25-2 West Coast
3. Virginia 22-2 ACC
4. Kentucky 21-4 SEC
5. Tennessee 23-2 SEC
6. Nevada 24-1 Mountain West
7. Michigan 23-3 Big Ten
8. North Carolina 20-5 ACC
9. Houston 25-1 American
10. Michigan State 21-5 Big Ten
11. Marquette 21-4 Big East
12. Kansas 20-6 Big 12
13. LSU 21-4 SEC
14. Texas Tech 21-5 Big 12
15. Purdue 18-7 Big Ten
16. Florida State 20-5 ACC
17. Villanova 20-6 Big East
18. Louisville 18-8 ACC
19. Iowa State 19-6 Big 12
20. Virginia Tech 20-5 ACC
21. Iowa 20-5 Big Ten
22. Wisconsin 17-8 Big Ten
23. Kansas State 19-6 Big 12
24. Maryland 19-7 Big Ten
25. Buffalo 22-3 Mid-American

Syracuse knocks off top-ranked Duke, 95-91, in overtime

Guard Tyus Battle scored 32 points and forward Paschal Chukwu had four in the final 1:22 of overtime Monday as the Syracuse Orange stunned the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 95-91, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Feels great,” Battle told ESPN after the natonally-televised game from Durham, North Carolina. “Feels really good. Hopefully we can get it going.”

Playing without two starters for most of the game, the Blue Devils held the lead for most of the night but couldn’t hold on.

Battle played a major role in the upset, hitting 12 of 28 from the field, including a three pointer falling backwards down the stretch in regulation.

Two freshmen led the Blue Devils in scoring. Zion Williamson produced 35 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Barrett had 23 and 16 rebounds.

Duke and Syracuse went into overtime tied 85-85. Battle had a clean look on a three-pointer that hit the back iron at the buzzer.

For the Blue Devils, Williamson produced 34 points in regulation. Battle had 30 for the Orange.

Duke basketball officials announced before tipoff that freshman forward Cam Reddish would not play because of an illness.

Even as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 12-0 lead, more bad luck stalked the No. 1 team in the nation, as starting point guard Tre Jones suffered a injury to his right arm.

Jones did not return.


Syracuse 12-5, 3-1
Duke 14-2, 3-1