Williams scores 28, No. 7 Duke beats Syracuse 97-72

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – With Syracuse’s big man out for the season, the Orange again were no match for No. 7 Duke.

Mark Williams scored a career-high 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, Paolo Banchero had 21 points and dished out nine assists with one turnover in the heart of the Syracuse zone defense, and AJ Griffin added 20 points as the Blue Devils raced to a commanding early lead and beat Syracuse 97-72 on Saturday night.

“I thought our offense was like amazing in the first 17 minutes. We played very well in the second half,” Krzyzewski said. “They scored the last 11 points of the first half and anything can happen then.”

It didn’t. With 6-foot-11 center Jesse Edwards watching with a broken wrist, the Blue Devils had their way again with Syracuse, which they defeated 79-59 three weeks ago at home. Duke had a season-high 26 assists on 35 baskets, one more assist than the last time the teams met.

“Jesse is a difference-maker for this team. It’s been too hard to overcome,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “We can’t handle Duke. It’s pretty simple.”

It was the final regular-season meeting between the two winningest coaches in Division I history – Krzyzewski (1,195), who’s retiring after the season, and Jim Boeheim (997). It was Krzyzewski’s 200th road win in the Atlantic Coast Conference, extending his record.

Duke (25-4, 15-3 ACC) is closing in on its first ACC regular-season championship since 2010. The Blue Devils were a game ahead of Notre Dame, which beat Georgia Tech on Saturday night. The Blue Devils have a seven-game road winning streak, the longest active one by a Power 5 team.

Banchero had four 3s and Griffin had 6 on 17 attempts, and Duke finished 15 of 32 from deep. Williams finished 11 of 14 from the floor and had 12 rebounds.

“Paolo, it was one of his best games,” Krzyzewski said. “And Mark was fantastic. His ability to catch and finish and also get eight offensive rebounds was huge. I’m obviously very pleased.”

Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse (15-14, 9-9) with 23 points, Joe Girard had 18 and freshman Benny Williams a season-high 14. Bourama Sidibe added 11 points.

“It’s tough,” Buddy said.

Duke raced to a 14-0 lead, hitting its first four shots and two free throws while the Orange went 0-7 and 0-3 from beyond the arc. With 11:47 left in the opening half, Duke was 11 of 12 from the floor, including 6 for 7 on 3s. Two 3s by Banchero, two more by Griffin and a dunk by Williams put the Blue Devils up 31-9 as the big Carrier Dome crowd had little to cheer.

The lead ballooned to 48-18 on a corner 3 by Banchero with 5:02 left before Buddy Boeheim hit a pair of 3s and scored 10 points to narrow the lead to 51-34 at halftime.

Banchero had 18 points and Griffin 14 in the opening half, combining to hit 8 of 11 3-pointers. The Blue Devils shot 18 of 30 (60%) and 10 of 17 (58.8%) from behind the arc in the period.

Jimmy Boeheim, who had scored 15 points in the first half of each of Syracuse’s previous two games, missed the three shots he attempted and did not score in 21 minutes. Cole Swider, who was averaging 13.3, finished with two points and took just four shots.

Syracuse closed to 73-57 on a 3-pointer by Williams midway through the second half, but got no closer.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Duke has been a fixture in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 since it was ranked No. 9 in the preseason – and will stay there.

K’S FAREWELL TOUR

Krzyzewski, who graduated from West Point and coached there before going to Duke, was honored Wednesday night at Virginia with a plaque and Syracuse followed suit on Saturday. Coach K was given a photo of him and Jim Boeheim that was mounted on a tile from the old Carrier Dome roof and Syracuse University established a military scholarship in his honor..

“Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I very much appreciate it,” Krzyzewski said afterward.

BIG CROWD

Boeheim wanted fans to be able to attend without having to wear masks, but that didn’t happen. The game drew 31,803, the 85th time that attendance has surpassed 30,000. Duke’s visit three years ago set the Carrier Dome record of 35,642. A moment of silence was held before the game to honor Ukraine.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils have been the class of the ACC all season. Duke is the conference’s lone ranked team and will have a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Syracuse: The Orange entered the game 0-7 in the important Quadrant 1 games and were mired at 86th in the NCAA’s NET rankings. In a down year for the ACC, the automatic bid that goes to the conference tournament champion likely remains the only hope for Syracuse to make the NCAA Tournament.

UP NEXT

Duke: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

Syracuse: At North Carolina on Monday night.

No. 7 Tennessee beats Eastern Kentucky, win streak hits 7

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyreke Key scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half and finished with 17, and No. 7 Tennessee overcame a sluggish first half and beat Eastern Kentucky 84-49 on Wednesday night.

“Tyreke is handling the ball now,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s all new to him. He keeps getting better.”

The Volunteers (8-1) struggled in the first half but still built an 11-point lead over Eastern Kentucky (4-5) on the way to their seventh straight victory.

Key led Tennessee in scoring before leaving with a cramp in his right leg with 6:15 left in the game. Julian Phillips had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Zakai Zeigler and Uros Plavsic added 13 points apiece. Olivier Nkamhoua scored 10.

“I’m still settling in,” said Key, a transfer from Indiana State who didn’t play last year while recovering from an injury. “This is a new role. I’m taking steps every day and keep learning.”

Eastern Kentucky, which came into the game averaging 83.5 points, was held well below that total due to 17% (6 for 35) shooting from long range and 22% (15 for 68) overall. Leland Walker led the Colonels with 13 points.

It was the seventh time this season Tennessee has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points.

“(Tennessee) is the best defensive team in the country,” Eastern Kentucky coach A.W. Hamilton said. “I think they’re the best team in the country.”

At one point in the first half, Tennessee was shooting 20% and still leading by 10 points. The teams combined to shoot 4 of 32 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. The Vols, who shot 24% (8 of 34), led 32-21 at the break.

“If we can’t make shots, can you find a way to win the game?” Barnes said. “When the shot’s not going in, find a way to play. The first thing we talk about is our defense.”

Tennessee shot 41 free throws. Phillips, a true freshman, was 7 of 10.

“(Phillips) has learned the pace of the game,” Barnes said. “I’m not sure there’s been a more effective freshman in the country (this season).”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Since its early season slip against Colorado, Tennessee has had a steady ascent in the rankings. The Vols’ next two games – neutral site (Brooklyn) against No, 13 Maryland (Dec. 11) and at No. 10 Arizona (Dec. 17) – will go a long way toward justifying the No. 7 ranking.

BIG PICTURE

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels’ run-and-gun style of offense had them averaging 83.5 points through their first eight games. They ran into a defensive buzz saw in Tennessee, which was yielding just over 51 points.

Tennessee: Santiago Vescovi sat out his second straight game with a shoulder problem. He is expected to be ready to play Sunday against Maryland. . The Vols have won seven in a row since their loss to Colorado.

UP NEXT

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels host Boyce College on Saturday.

Tennessee: Take on No. 13 Maryland on Sunday at the Hall of Fame Invitational in New York.

Hoggard scores career-high 23, Michigan St snaps 2-game skid

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A.J. Hoggard scored a career-high 23 points, Joey Hauser had 12 points and 15 rebounds and Michigan State beat Penn State 67-58 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten) avoided going .500 or worse after 10 games for the first time in 18 seasons.

Hoggard blocked an open layup with less than a minute to play and Hauser grabbed the rebound before being fouled and making two free throws at the other end for a 66-58 lead.

Hoggard, Hauser and Tyson Walker combined for 31 of Michigan State’s 32 second-half points.

The Michigan State defense allowed only one made field goal in the final five minutes. Penn State was just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half after 7 of 18 before halftime.

Walker scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for Michigan State. Hoggard, who entered third in the conference in assists at 6.3, had six rebounds, two assists and one key block.

Hoggard gave Michigan State 35-33 lead – its first since 4-2 – after back-to-back three-point plays with 59.3 seconds left in the first half. It was tied at 35-all at the break.

Seth Lundy scored 16 points and Jalen Pickett had 13 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for Penn State (6-3, 0-1)

Michigan State hosts Brown on Saturday. Penn State, which hadn’t played since a double-overtime loss to Clemson on Nov. 29, plays at No. 17 Illinois on Saturday.

No. 7 Virginia Tech posts 9th straight win, beats BC 73-58

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BOSTON — Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Elizabeth Kitley had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Cayla King scored 16 on Wednesday night to lead No. 7 Virginia Tech to a 73-58 victory over Boston College, the Hokies’ ninth straight win.

Taylor Soule, one of two BC transfers on the roster for Virginia Tech (9-0, 1-0 ACC), added nine points and five rebounds. Soule scored more than 1,500 points and grabbed almost 700 rebounds in four seasons at BC, earning All-ACC honors three times.

Andrea Daley scored 15 points and Maria Gakdeng scored 14 for BC (7-4, 0-1). They each grabbed six rebounds.

Virginia Tech scored 17 of the game’s first 21 points and led by as many as 19 in the third quarter before BC cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth. Leading 64-54 with under three minutes left and the shot clock expiring, Kayana Traylor hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies.

Gakdeng missed two free throws for BC, and then Kitley scored from inside to make it a 15-point game.

Clara Ford, who also played four years in Chestnut Hill, pitched in 2 points in 2 minutes against her former team.

BIG PICTURE

At No. 7, the Hokies have the highest ranking in the program’s history. With the victory over BC, a 10th straight win against North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday would leave Virginia Tech in position to move up even higher should a top five team falter.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Hosts North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday.

Boston College: Hosts Albany on Saturday.

Michigan’s Jaelin Llewellyn out for season with knee injury

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan point guard Jaelin Llewellyn is out for the rest of the season with an injured left knee and is expected to have surgery next month.

Wolverines coach Juwan Howard made the announcement three days after Llewellyn was hurt in a loss to Kentucky in London.

Llewellyn transferred to Michigan from Princeton last spring and that seemed to lead to Frankie Collins transferring to Arizona State after a solid freshman season for the Wolverines.

Llewellyn averaged seven points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games at Michigan. He was an All-Ivy League player last season and averaged nearly 16 points over three seasons at Princeton.

Miles Kelly leads Georgia Tech to 79-77 win over rival Georgia

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 02 Northeastern at Georgia Tech
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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Miles Kelly hit another winning shot against a state rival.

Terry Roberts endured a nightmarish final minute for Georgia.

Kelly hit a long 3-pointer and then a drove for the game-winning floater with 23 seconds remaining as the Yellow Jackets rallied to beat Georgia 79-77 on Tuesday night.

Kelly hit the winning shot in similar fashion against Georgia State on Nov. 12. He did it again to beat the Bulldogs, finishing with a team-high 17 points after failing to score in the first half.

“I’m going to continue to keep shooting, no matter how many times I miss,” Kelly said.

Roberts missed a 3-pointer, turned the ball over twice with bad passes, and was called for an offensive foul as he was trying to drive for the basket that would’ve sent the game to overtime.

“A tough finish for us,” Georgia first-year coach Mike White said. “We were in position to steal one on the road.”

A pair of second-chance buckets seemingly put Georgia (7-3) in control with a 77-73 lead.

The Bulldogs wouldn’t score again as Kelly led the comeback for the Yellow Jackets (6-3) – with a big assist from Roberts.

He had a chance to essentially seal it for the Bulldogs, but his jumper beyond the arc clanked off the rim.

Georgia Tech grabbed the rebound and raced down the court, where Kelly swished a 3 from well behind the stripe that brought Georgia Tech within a point with about a minute left.

Trying to work the ball inside, Roberts made an ill-advised entry pass that was deflected and stolen by Deivon Smith, setting up Kelly’s drive for the basket that put the Yellow Jackets back ahead,

Roberts tried a drive of his own, only to have it blocked by Jalon Moore. Georgia retained possession, but Roberts’ inbounds pass was stolen by Moore, who was fouled and made one of two free throws.

Roberts took the ball again and hurriedly dribbled toward the basket, only to be called for an offensive foul when he sent Smith flying.

“Just sacrificing my body for the team,” Smith said.

Georgia stole an inbounds pass around midcourt, giving Karlo Oquendo one last shot to launch a 3 that still would’ve won it for the Bulldogs. It bounced off the rim.

The game was tight throughout. Neither team led by more than eight, and a sequence in the second half showed just how tightly these rivals were matched.

With both squads playing at a frenetic pace and showing little regard for defense, the lead changed hands on eight straight possessions as the teams traded baskets.

Stunningly, they combined to score on 19 straight possessions before Georgia’s Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe missed a pair of free throws with 5:17 remaining.

FIRING UP THE CROWD

Perhaps the biggest cheer of the night came when Georgia Tech football coach Brent Key addressed the crowd at halftime.

Key, who served as interim coach for the last eight games of the season, was introduced Monday as the full-time choice for job.

He fired up the fans by getting them to chant “To hell with Georgia” over and over again. When a smattering of Bulldogs fans responded with barks, Key smiled and egged on the Yellow Jackets crowd to drown them out.

He also declared Georgia Tech to be the “greatest school in the entire state, the entire country,” following up his vow the previous day to not back down from the defending national champion and top-ranked Bulldogs.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia: This will be a tough one to swallow for Roberts, who led his team with 16 points and seven assists. The Bulldogs lost despite shooting 53.4% from the field.

Georgia Tech: Four players scored in double figures, and two others players finished with eight points. But it was Kelly, as usual, who had the ball in his hands at the end of a tight game.

UP NEXT

Georgia: After a nearly two-week break, the Bulldogs return to Atlanta on Dec. 18 to face Notre Dame at State Farm Arena in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event.

Georgia Tech: Head to North Carolina on Saturday for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against the struggling Tar Heels.