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Tre Jones scores 23, No. 2 Duke routs Wake Forest 90-59

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DURHAM, N.C. — Tre Jones scored 23 points to help No. 2 Duke handle Wake Forest 90-59 on Saturday night.

Cassius Stanley added 16 points for the Blue Devils (15-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 53% from the field.

Duke scored on eight of its first nine possessions to take control early. The Blue Devils pulled away with a 27-12 run in which they scored on 13 of 15 possessions while making 11 of 12 shots. Duke led 49-23 at halftime after shooting 63%, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

Joey Baker and Jack White scored 11 points each, and Jordan Goldwire had 10 points for the Blue Devils.

Torry Johnson and Olivier Sarr scored 13 points apiece to lead Wake Forest (8-7, 1-4). Sharone Wright Jr. added a season-high 11 points for the Demon Deacons.

Brandon Childress, Wake Forest’s leading scorer at 16 points a game, went scoreless and missed all six shots.

Duke won its 900th game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, more wins than any other college team has at its current venue.

The Blue Devils beat Wake Forest for the 11th consecutive time and 21st straight at home.

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons have enough problems at Duke when they’re at full strength. They have lost 21 consecutive road games against the Blue Devils since Tim Duncan’s senior season in 1997. Without second-leading scorer Chaundee Brown, who missed his second consecutive game with an injury, Wake Forest couldn’t keep pace.

Duke: The Blue Devils are rolling and remain the favorite to win the watered-down ACC. Since their 150-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents ended against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, they have won all 10 of their games by at least nine points.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: Hosts Virginia Tech on Tuesday night, starting a stretch in which it plays three of four at home.

Duke: Play at Clemson on Tuesday night. The Tigers won at North Carolina for the first time in program history earlier Saturday.

Boeheim lifts Syracuse past No. 18 Virginia, 63-55 in OT

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Buddy Boeheim scored nine of his 14 points in overtime and Syracuse outlasted No. 18 Virginia 63-55 on Saturday. The Orange scored 20 points in the extra period after netting just 19 in the second half.

Boeheim hit the third of three consecutive 3s for the Orange (9-7, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) and added another when he made a desperate heave from well behind the 3-point line to beat the shot clock late in the extra period.

Elijah Hughes, who scored 18 points, hit the first 3 of the overtime for the Orange and freshman Joe Girard, who scored 19, hit the second.

Jay Huff had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Virginia (11-4, 3-2), which lost back-to-back games for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Mamadi Diakita and Kihei Clark each added 13 points for the Cavaliers.

Neither team scored in the final 1:20 of regulation, but the Orange hit their first four shots of the extra period.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: The Orange scored 34 points in their first game against the Cavaliers, which was the season-opener for both teams. Syracuse started Saturday averaging 73.7 points and haven’t scored fewer than 54 in a game since the opener. They had 43 at the end of regulation at Virginia.

Virginia: The Cavaliers’ inconsistency on offense was on full display in the second half when they didn’t score for nearly 3 minutes, then scored 12 consecutive points in about 3 1/2 minutes to take a 35-30 lead. Immediately thereafter, they went 7 minutes without a point.

UP NEXT

Syracuse returns home to face Boston College on Wednesday night.

Virginia goes on the road to face No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday night.

Tuesday’s Things to Know: Baylor, Maryland earn key conference wins; two ranked teams lose on road

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College basketball saw quite a bit of action go down on Tuesday night. 

Marquee matchups in the Big Ten and Big 12 kept things interesting. Upsets with ranked teams losing on the road completed a strong night of games. 

No. 12 Maryland slows down No. 11 Ohio State

The night started with a clash of top-12 teams in the Big Ten. It resulted in a quality home win for the Terps as Ohio State’s freefall continues.

Senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. led a balanced offensive night for Maryland. The team’s stifling interior defense did the rest. The Terps limited touches for Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson. And the Buckeyes couldn’t make Maryland pay from the perimeter with a poor shooting night.

I have more on Maryland’s win here. Ohio State, meanwhile, has dropped three straight after previously being No. 1 earlier this season.

No. 4 Baylor holds off No. 22 Texas Tech for Big 12 road win

The second top-25 matchup of the night had the Bears holding off the Red Raiders to start 2-0 in the Big 12.

Spreading the ball all over on offense, Baylor blitzed the offensive glass for 16 boards to maintain a big advantage on the glass. Davion Mitchell was the only double-figure scorer for the Bears with 14 points. It’s another great early-season win for Baylor as they continue to look like a major Big 12 contender.

Texas Tech struggled to score from all over the floor on a poor shooting night. The Red Raiders were 37 percent from the floor and a dismal 41 percent from the charity stripe. Even with a good effort from freshman Jahmius Ramsey, Texas Tech came up short at home.

Baylor heads to Allen Fieldhouse for another Big 12 showdown with No. 3 Kansas this weekend.

Boston College, Rutgers score upset home wins over ranked teams

It wouldn’t be a normal night of college hoops during the 2019-20 season without some upsets.

Boston College took down No. 18 Virginia in the ACC. Meanwhile, Rutgers earned an impressive Big Ten home win, sans Geo Baker, over No. 20 Penn State.

Previously getting blown out by Duke in ACC play, the Eagles bounced back because of strong perimeter defense and a huge late shot from Jared Hamilton. They move to 3-1 in the ACC behind only Duke and tied among a pack of teams.

Rutgers is now an intriguing 12-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights kept pace with Maryland and only trail Michigan State in the early Big Ten standings — just as we all predicted… Playing with Baker, Ron Harper Jr. put together an impressive night to lead Rutgers with 20 points. Winners of six straight, Rutgers has wins over Wisconsin, Seton Hall and now Penn State during that span.

Boston College upsets No. 18 Virginia, 60-53

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BOSTON — Sloppy. Lethargic. Lukewarm effort. Lack of composure.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett knows what the problems were in Tuesday night’s loss to Boston College. Now he’s got to fix them.

“I think the tape’s going to reveal some things that are going to hurt and sting,” Bennett said after unranked BC beat the 18th-ranked Cavaliers 60-53. “But you move on and get ready for the next one.”

Jared Hamilton hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37 seconds left and added a pair of free throws to clinch it as the Eagles sent the defending national champions to their first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

Jay Heath scored 17 for BC (9-6, 3-1), which had not beaten Virginia in six tries since 2013. It was BC’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 11 Florida State last January, and Virginia’s first loss to an unranked ACC opponent in almost two years.

“We’re trying to do the same thing as everyone else,” BC coach Jim Christian said, whose team was a 10 1/2-point underdog coming off a 39-point loss to Duke. “These guys are not surprised they won this game.”

Braxton Key scored 16 points with eight rebounds for the Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1). The 2019 champs, who a year earlier were the first team to lose as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, have now lost two of their last four games.

BC scored eight of the first 10 points in the game and still led 42-30 with 14 minutes left before Virginia scored 10 in a row. With about seven minutes left, Key missed a layup and Mamadi Diakite slapped the rebound out to the top of the key, where Kihei Clark hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 45-all.

Diakite followed with a three-point play to give Virginia its first lead since the opening basket of the game. Clark scored seven points during the 20-3 run, while BC was held to just one basket over almost nine minutes.

BC took a 53-51 lead with just over two minutes left, but Key scored from underneath to tie it. Hamilton scored from in front of the Eagles bench to put them ahead, then leaned back into the embrace of his teammates to celebrate.

“Feeling the support of the guys,” Hamilton said. “That was a great feeling.”

UNDERMANNED

Boston College was without starting point guard Derryck Thornton, who injured his ankle, and Nic Popovic, who has been out a month with a sore back. Forward Steffon Mitchell, who was nauseated and had migraine headaches, needed two IVs to get ready for the game.

Christian said he didn’t know if Mitchell would be available until about five minutes before the tipoff. He played almost 30 minutes and scored 10 points with eight rebounds.

“There’s a beauty to it,” Christian said. “It’s effort, it’s character, it’s determination.”

EARLY STRUGGLES

The Cavaliers committed four fouls in the first 67 seconds, and Diakite went to the bench with two. The biggest man in Virginia’s starting lineup — and the only one listed as a forward, along with four guards — played just 4:36 in the first half, with two points and two rebounds.

After making its first shot, Virginia missed the next seven, and it was still just 8-2 with almost six minutes gone.

“I thought we were kind of lethargic in the beginning of the game,” Clark said. “And once you dig yourself that big of a hole … it’s hard to get back in it.”

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: After climbing as high as No. 5 in the AP Top 25, the Cavaliers have now lost to South Carolina and Boston College in the last two weeks. They have lost as many games as they did all of last season.

Boston College: The Eagles were able to quickly forget about their 88-49 loss to Duke on Dec. 31.

“We had a week to get ready for this game, so we had the benefit of time to get it out of our system,” Christian said. “When you’re playing great teams in this league, if you dwell too much on one game, you’re going to struggle.”

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Roy Williams calls North Carolina ‘least gifted team I’ve ever coached’

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Roy Williams did not mince words, calling this North Carolina team the “least gifted” he’s ever coached on his radio show Monday night.

In the midst of a difficult 8-6 start, the Tar Heels haven’t looked like an NCAA tournament-caliber team. That point was further evidenced by North Carolina’s recent home loss to Georgia Tech.

Williams gave his take during his weekly radio show “Roy Williams Live” on Monday, calling his team, “the least gifted team I’ve ever coached in the time that I’ve been back here.”

The Yellow Jackets jumped out to 27-4 lead as North Carolina missed its first 15 field-goal attempts. It was jarring to see the way North Carolina was dominated in the Dean Dome. They trailed by 20 points at halftime, which is the biggest deficit that the Tar Heels have ever dealt with at home at the half, and after the game Williams had plenty to say.

“I want to apologize to all the North Carolina fans, the people that care about our basketball program, former players, everyone that cares about us,” Williams said after the game. “We stunk it up tonight, and it’s got to me my responsibility. It’s the most negative I’ve ever felt about myself. The most negative I’ve ever felt about any team. We weren’t ready to play.”

“We stunk, OK. We were not very good,” Williams continued on Monday night. “The crazy thing about it is, our team, and we’ve had some very gifted teams, this is not a very gifted team. It’s just not.”

North Carolina is already facing a talent drain facing much of college basketball thanks to draft losses to Coby White and Nassir Little. Freshmen guards Cole Anthony and Anthony Harris are also out with injury.

The Tar Heels have to turn things around quickly if they hope to make the NCAA tournament.  ACC play continues as North Carolina hosts Pitt and Clemson the next two games.

Hurt, Jones help No. 2 Duke beat Boston College 88-49 in ACC

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DURHAM, N.C. — Duke had Tre Jones back healthy at the point and freshman Matthew Hurt rolling with a confident stroke. Just the way the second-ranked Blue Devils wanted to dive into the bulk of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.

Hurt scored 20 of his season-high 25 points before halftime to help Duke beat Boston College 88-49 on Tuesday night, while Jones had 10 assists in his return from a foot injury that had cost him two games.

Hurt made 10 of 16 shots and was 5 of 10 on 3-pointers to lead the Blue Devils, who shot nearly 52% and hit their last five shots of the first half as they blew the game open shortly before the break. Duke (12-1, 2-0 ACC) also had little trouble clamping down with its defensive pressure.

“They played like they practiced,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “so that’s a neat thing if you practice well.”

Jones had missed the past two games with what was described as a mild sprain of his left foot. Krzyzewski had said before the Wofford win on Dec. 19 that the sophomore would’ve likely played had it been an ACC game.

Well, now that’s all that’s in front of the Blue Devils: 18 straight league games as part of the ACC’s first 20-game conference slate.

CJ Felder scored 13 points for the Eagles (8-6, 2-1), who had won four straight games coming in to Cameron Indoor Stadium. But they never mounted much of a response to Duke’s defensive pressure that turned away driving lanes and forced BC to settle for tough looks.

BC shot just 34% and made 3 of 18 3-pointers, including a six-minute stretch in the first half without a basket that helped Duke stretch out its lead.

“We did a really poor job today of keeping the floor spaced and then making plays for other people,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We tried to do way too much finishing plays, and they did a great job recovering and blocking shots or forcing us to miss. … We needed to move the ball better, the whole game really. So it was real big problem for us the whole night.”

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: BC fell to Duke for the 13th time in 14 meetings and is 0-11 all-time in Cameron.

Duke: Jones’ return was the biggest positive for a team that needs his on-floor leadership and on-ball defensive pressure.

“Early on there was definitely some rust, just not being able to be in a game for a few weeks,” Jones said, adding: “After the first few minutes of getting my feet back under me and everything, I felt good the rest of the game.”

BACK AGAIN

It was a rough return for Derryck Thornton, who spent his freshman year at Duke before transferring to USC and ultimately ending up at BC as a graduate transfer. He was averaging a team-best 13.8 points but finished with six on 3-for-12 shooting while also leaving briefly in the first half with a right leg injury.

“Nobody on the team played very well,” Christian said. “It’s not about Derryck Thornton or anybody else.”

BIG FINISH

Hurt and the Blue Devils closed out the half in a flurry, ending when Jones found Hurt alone in the corner to bury a 3 just before the halftime horn. By that point, Hurt — who held his release to mark the make — had matched his season-high scoring output and outscored BC as Duke led 45-19 at the break.

“I made a third 3, I felt really good, and then the fourth 3 right before halftime, that really set it off,” Hurt said. “I just want to win, so I just tried to go in the second half and try to make the right plays and just try to win especially.”

TIP-INS

Duke earned its 300th victory of the decade (dating to January 2010) and its 899th all-time victory at its famously hostile home arena. … Duke has held opponents to fewer than 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since December 2010. … BC senior forward Nik Popovic (11.8 points) missed his fifth straight game. He is out indefinitely with a back problem. … Duke hit a season-high 12 of 28 3s (.429).

UP NEXT

Boston College: The Eagles host No. 19 Virginia next Tuesday.

Duke: The Blue Devils visit Miami on Saturday night.