Syracuse stuns No. 1 Duke
DURHAM, N.C. — Syracuse packed its patented 2-3 zone defense around Zion Williamson, and dared a depleted Duke team to win from the 3-point line.
Without shooter Cameron Reddish, the top-ranked Blue Devils couldn’t do it. And without point guard Tre Jones, their defense couldn’t pressure the Orange, either.
Tyus Battle scored a season-high 32 points, and Syracuse rattled Duke in overtime in a 95-91 upset on Monday night– the Blue Devils’ first home loss as a No. 1 team to an opponent other than North Carolina.
With Reddish out with flu-like symptoms and Jones suffering a right shoulder injury roughly 5¢ minutes in — which coach Mike Krzyzewski said will keep him “out for a while” — the Blue Devils were down two starters and became a completely different team.
The Orange took full advantage, forcing the Blue Devils to attempt a school-record 43 3-pointers. They made only nine. And RJ Barrett finished with 23 points, but was 4 of 17 from 3-point range — the second-most 3s ever taken by a Duke player and the most since Bobby Hurley’s 18 against California in 1993.
“When you get two guys hurt and injured, there is no game plan anymore,” Krzyzewski said. “Our game plan was to pick them up full-court, put pressure on the ball, and that was working pretty well. Then, you’re trying to survive, really.”
Paschal Chukwu added 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds while Elijah Hughes added 20 points, Frank Howard finished with 16 and Oshae Brissett had 14 for the Orange (12-5, 3-1 ACC).
“When (Chukwu) plays like that,” coach Jim Boeheim said, “we’re a different team.”
Syracuse held Duke to 2-of-8 shooting in overtime while earning its second victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2016.
“We were just letting them shoot the 3,” Battle said. “Just backing up and trying to limit Zion’s touches as much as possible.”
Battle’s jumper about a minute into OT gave Syracuse the lead for good at 89-88. Duke followed that with four consecutive empty possessions — three missed 3s and a turnover that Howard turned into an easy layup.
Barrett’s 3 pulled the Blue Devils to 93-91, but Chukwu countered with a dunk off a lob from Howard to make it a four-point game.
Williamson had a career-high 35 points and 10 rebounds while playing two days after he was poked in the eye at Florida State.