North Carolina routs top-ranked Duke, 88-72

Forward Luke Maye produced 30 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night as eighth-ranked North Carolina won decisively on the road against an old rival, toppling the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils, 88-72.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson also enjoyed a big game with 26 points and seven rebounds at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke played most of the night without star freshman Zion Williamson, who fell and suffered a knee injury only 36 seconds into the action. He did not return.

Subsequently, the Tar Heels ran solid halfcourt offensive sets and rolled behind Maye and Cam Johnson to a 10-point lead at halftime.

North Carolina outscored Duke 17-5 in the first four minutes of the second half to take a 22-point lead.

Johnson capped the streak when he hit a layup with 15:58 remaining to make it 59-37.

Duke closed to within 13 points with 2:44 remaining, when Cam Reddish hit a three.

But the Tar Heels steadied themselves and held on, breaking the Blue Devils’ nine-game winning streak.


North Carolina 21-5, 11-2
Duke 23-3, 11-2


Williamson suffered the injury on his first touch of the game. On the wing, he drove into the key and went down when the shoe on his left foot came apart. Replay showed him clutching the back of his right leg above the knee.

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

Duke routs Princeton, 101-50, in warmup for Texas Tech

Duke sensation Zion Williamson caught an elbow in the mouth in the first half, but that didn’t slow down the Blue Devils, who — figuratively speaking — smacked Princeton around for most of the rest of the night in a 101-50 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Next up for the second-ranked Blue Devils? A trip to New York for a meeting with the undefeated and 12th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. The game is set for Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.


Duke 10-1
Princeton 5-5


Duke — RJ Barrett, 27 points, 6 rebounds. Zion Williamson, 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks. Princeton — Myles Stephens, 19 points, 3 steals.


The Blue Devils had 14 blocked shots and 12 steals. It was the fifth time Duke has had 10 or more blocks in a game this season. Duke had double digit steals for the fifth straight game, which is tied for the third-longest streak in school history and the longest since a five-game streak in the 2000-01 season.


— Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, in comments posted on the school’s website:

“The guys played great defense tonight, especially against an extended dribble. I thought RJ (Barrett) did a great job on (Devin) Cannady, who is an outstanding player. He didn’t leave him. His length and not letting him get the ball, and even when he got it, the length was a key factor in stopping him.

“Tre (Jones’) pressure on (Jaelin) Llewellyn was key, and for the most part we kept them out of the paint. And when they did get in the paint, our big guys came over and blocked a lot of shots. Which is what they are supposed to do and they did it.”

Duke-fueled hype on the horizon for 10-0 Texas Tech

The 11th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders are taking a clear-eyed view of their 10-0 record leading into a Thursday night game in New York against the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils.

Asked late Saturday night how he will “coach emotion” in preparation for Mike Krzyzewski’s perennial ACC powerhouse, Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said it won’t be a problem.

“It’s kind of a non-issue with us because we got these seniors,” Beard said. “These four seniors, they know that 10-0 doesn’t mean much.

“We’d much rather win our last 10 games. That means you’re going to win the Big 12 tournament and the national championship.”

The Big 12 regular-season schedule starts in January, and Tech is expected to be a contender in the conference race.

But until then, the Duke game promises to be a topic of discussion locally, as well as in the biggest media market in the nation.

Conversations on the game could very well spin off into issues, such as:

1) Whether the Red Raiders are as good as advertised. After all, they lost a lot of talent from last year’s Elite Eight team, and their best victories this year, thus far, have come against Southern Cal, Nebraska and Memphis.

2) Whether they can guard Blue Devils freshmen RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, already considered as NBA lottery prospects.

3) Whether they can deal with the hype of a game played in the biggest media market in the nation.

As a coach, Beard seems much more concerned about how he will deal with the Blue Devils’ talent, and not so much the intangibles.

Tech seniors such as Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney, Norense Odiase and Tariq Owens seem to instill confidence in the coach.

So does sophomore Jarrett Culver, who scored 30 points Saturday night in an 82-48 victory over Abilene Christian.

No doubt, Beard has some swagger about him.

“With some younger teams, I’d worry about things like (a big-game atmosphere),” Beard said. “But with these four seniors leading this team, and (with) Jarrett Culver being a best-player type guy …

“You know I got a lot to worry about, with the next game on the schedule (against) a Hall of Fame coach, and NBA (caiber) players. I don’t worry much about our guys not being focused,” he said.