Bagley returns, leads No. 5 Duke past Syracuse 60-44

By  | 

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Marvin Bagley III had 19 points in his return from a sprained knee, and No. 5 Duke beat Syracuse 60-44 on Saturday night for its fifth straight win.

Wendell Carter Jr. added 16 points for the Blue Devils (24-5, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who forced 17 turnovers. The Orange matched their season-low scoring total, set Feb. 3 in a loss to No. 1 Virginia.

Duke pulled away down the stretch after leaning hard on the two freshman big men in a game in which the outside shooters from both teams struggled from the perimeter against their dueling zone defenses. The teams combined to miss their first 23 3-pointers.

Bagley, the ACC's leading scorer (21.2 ppg) and rebounder (11.4 rpg), missed four games after injuring his right knee in a loss at North Carolina on Feb. 8.

Tyus Battle, who ranks third in the league with an average of 20.1 points per game, scored 12 to lead the Orange (18-11, 7-9), who lost their third in four games.


Syracuse: The Orange's best chance to win this one was to gum up the works and hope for an off shooting night by the Blue Devils. For a while, it looked as though it just might work - Syracuse never fell behind by more than a dozen until the final seven minutes. The Orange's scoring struggles of their own prevented them from earning a resume-building victory and will keep them as the very definition of a bubble team.

Duke: If nothing else, the Blue Devils proved they can scratch out a win. The nation's third-most productive offense, which entered averaging 87.2 points, was held way below that, and the Blue Devils didn't make a 3-pointer until Trevon Duval finally connected with 7½ minutes to play. Of course, it helped to have Bagley back for the first time in two weeks.


Syracuse: Visits Boston College on Wednesday night.

Duke: Faces a quick turnaround with a trip to Virginia Tech on Monday night.