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Syracuse 91, Duke 89 (OT)

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — One day before the real thing, Duke and Syracuse played college basketball’s version of the Super Bowl.

Saturday night’s game featured the two most successful coaches in Division I history (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim), two of the nation’s top freshmen (Duke forward Jabari Parker and Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis), and an NCAA on-campus record crowd of 35,446 at the Carrier Dome.

And the game was an instant classic as the No. 17 Blue Devils tied the score at the buzzer in regulation before the No. 2 Orange won 91-89 behind forward Jerami Grant’s eight overtime points and Ennis’ four free throws in the final 71 seconds.

The Orange led 78-75 with 4.6 seconds remaining after Ennis sank two free throws. But Duke, which had committed a turnover with the chance to win the game in the closing seconds, sent the game into overtime on guard Rasheed Sulaimon’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

With the score tied at 56, ACC Preseason Player of the Year C.J. Fair scored 10 of Syracuse’s next 12 points as the Orange tried to pull away. But Duke reserve guard Tyler Thornton, who had not scored in the game to that point, sank three consecutive 3-pointers, keeping the Orange lead at 70-68.

The Orange improved to 21-0, the best start in program history. The 2011-12 team that finished 34-3 and advanced to the Elite Eight started 20-0 before losing its first game.

Syracuse (8-0 ACC) is one of only three undefeated teams in Division I.

Duke, which had won five consecutive games, fell to 17-5 overall and 6-3 in the ACC.

The Super Bowl-like atmosphere kicked off in the morning when about 5,000 fans filled the Carrier Dome for ESPN’s College GameDay. Grammy and Tony Award winner Vanessa Williams, a Syracuse alum, sang the national anthem.

A few days ago, Syracuse announced that the game was a sellout with 35,446 tickets sold. That smashed the on-campus record set at Syracuse last season when 35,012 attended the final Carrier Dome game between the Orange and Georgetown as Big East Conference opponents.

Saturday’s game was the first ACC game between Duke and Syracuse, and the first matchup between Krzyzewski and Boeheim since they became the two winningest coaches in Division I history. Krzyzewski ranks first with 974 wins and Boeheim is second with 940. Boeheim holds the record for most wins at one school (940) and Krzyzewski recently posted his 900th win at Duke.

Both coaches are enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and they are also close friends — Boeheim was a Team USA assistant under Krzyzewski when the United States won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

The game was also a national showcase for freshman-of-the-year candidates Parker, a 6-foot-8 power forward, and Ennis, a 6-2 point guard. Parker had 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 1:42 remaining. Ennis finished with 14 points and nine assists.

Syracuse led 38-35 at halftime.

Trailing 20-18, the Orange went on an 8-0 run, which was started by guard Trevor Cooney’s 3-point shot and capped by Fair’s 3-point play. Duk guard Rodney Hood sank two 3-pointers near the end of the first half to pull the Blue Devils to 32-31.

Syracuse sank all 11 of its throws in the first half. Fair scored 11 points, Cooney had seven and forward Jerami Grant added six points and four rebounds.

Duke entered the game leading the ACC in 3-point shooting at 41.4 percent. The Blue Devils missed their first four 3-pointers and shot 6 of 18 from beyond the arc in the first half.

Amile Jefferson led Duke with nine first-half points.

NOTES: Krzyzewski and Boeheim split their previous two meetings. The Blue Devils defeated the Orange 80-67 in the Sweet 16 of the 1998 NCAA tournament in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Syracuse edged Duke 78-76 in the 1989-90 ACC-Big East Challenge in Greensboro, N.C. … Since first breaking the magical 30,000 mark in 1983, the Carrier Dome has hosted 74 games with crowds that exceeded that total. And since that 1983 game that set an on-campus record, the record has been broken 13 times at the Dome. … There were 10 NBA scouts at the game, including two from the San

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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