Duke downs Syracuse for fourth straight win

DJ Steward scored 21 points as Duke continued its February surge, thumping Syracuse 85-71 Monday night in Durham, N.C., to win its fourth game in a row.

It was a big night for Duke freshmen, with Mark Williams contributing 18 points and 11 rebounds and Jeremy Roach pouring in 14 points to join Steward among the efficient first-year players. Roach and Steward added seven assists apiece.

Matthew Hurt put up 15 points for Duke (11-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), which shot 13-for-29 from 3-point range and won despite attempting only seven free throws.

The only matchup of the season between the teams was critical for both squads aiming to rise to the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Syracuse (13-7, 7-6), which lost for the third time in the past nine games, shot 8-for-24 from 3-point range and attempted 12 foul shots. Duke committed 14 turnovers to Syracuse’s 11.

Buddy Boeheim posted 21 points — aided by five 3-pointers — and Kadary Richmond scored 15 points off the bench for the Orange. Teammates Marek Dolezaj and Alan Griffin had 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Steward and Roach both sank four 3-point shots. Williams, a center, had season highs in points and rebounds while shooting 9-for-11 from the field.

Duke bolted to a 52-34 halftime advantage. Syracuse never led, trailing by 16 points slightly more than 10 minutes into the game.

Syracuse, which rallied from 20 points down in the second half to defeat Notre Dame on Saturday, couldn’t come up with much of a spark in this one. The Orange got within 14 points before the midway mark of the second half but then missed a pair of 3-point attempts. Duke’s Jordan Goldwire drained a 3-point shot for his first points of the game to quell Syracuse’s momentum.

Duke was fresh off a one-point upset of then-No. 7 Virginia on Saturday night.

Syracuse had won in two of its three most recent visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke has now won four straight in the series.