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.
Duke's loss could vault No. 2 Michigan to No. 1 when the new AP rankings are released next Monday. Michigan (17-0) has one game this week, at Wisconsin on Saturday.
With Reddish out with flu-like symptoms and Jones suffering a right shoulder injury roughly 5½ 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 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“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. His free throw with 16.2 seconds left in regulation tied it at 85 for Duke (14-2, 3-1), but he missed a second go-ahead foul shot. Brissett grabbed the rebound for Syracuse, but Battle’s 3-pointer before the buzzer bounced off the back iron.
The Orange looked nothing like the group that shot a season-worst 31.6 percent in a home loss to Georgia Tech two nights earlier, and they felt slighted by oddsmakers who had them as 17-point underdogs. Battle said Boeheim mentioned it to them before the game.
“‘That’s a 17-point spread. That’s how much people respect you guys right now,’” Battle quoted Boeheim as saying. “We’re competitors, so we took that really personal.”
The night took an ominous early turn for the Blue Devils, when Jones’ collar bone separated from his shoulder blade during a collision with Howard as he chased a loose ball before the first TV timeout.
That injury has the potential to be a big problem for Duke, depending on how long he’s out, because he’s tops in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio while also serving as an elite on-the-ball defender on a team that entered ranked third in Division I in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency rankings.
The game might not have made it to overtime had the Orange not hit an 80-footer at the halftime buzzer. They got the ball back with 2.7 seconds left after Duke couldn’t get a shot off. Hughes took the inbounds pass and initially dropped it before taking three dribbles and flinging it from three-quarter court. It swished through to pull the Orange within 49-48 at the break.
Syracuse outscored Duke 89-77 after Jones was injured while shooting 45 percent in his absence. Jones had four steals when he was injured at the 14:23 mark of the first half. The rest of the Blue Devils combined for four steals for the entire game.
Barrett (30) and Williamson (20) combined to take 50 of the Blue Devils’ 80 shots, with Barrett making eight and Williamson 12. The rest of Duke’s players made 11 shots combined.
“There’s a burden that’s placed on (Barrett) and Zion in that situation, because they know they have to carry more,” Krzyzewski said. “And the fact that they tried to do that, I like that. We weren’t successful enough to win, but the fact that they stepped forward and put it on the line, I like that.”
Duke hosts No. 4 Virginia on Saturday.
More Top 25
(At) No. 7 Kansas 80, Texas 78: Lagerald Vick scored 21 points, Marcus Garrett added a career-high 20, and Kansas held on to beat Texas when Jase Febres’ 3-pointer at the buzzer never came close.
Dedric Lawson added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks (15-2, 4-1 Big 12), who blew a 10-point second-half lead before escaping with their 10th straight win over the Longhorns (10-7, 2-3).
(At) Pittsburgh 75, No. 11 Florida State 62: Trey McGowens had 30 points and seven rebounds, Xavier Johnson scored 16 and Pittsburgh pulled away late for a win over Florida State. McGowens, a freshman guard, attacked the bigger, deeper Seminoles relentlessly to help the Panthers (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) end a 13-game losing streak against ranked teams. Pitt’s previous victory over a team in the AP Top 25 came against Florida State on Feb. 18, 2017. Trent Forrest scored 19 points for the Seminoles (13-4, 1-3).
(At) No. 19 Maryland 64, Wisconsin 60: Anthony Cowan Jr. hit a pivotal 3-pointer with 44 seconds left, and the No. 19 Terrapins pulled out a victory after blowing a 21-point lead in the second half.
Maryland (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) led by 10 after eight minutes and 38-17 with 17:47 remaining before the Badgers (11-6, 3-3) roared back to take a 60-59 lead with 2:01 to go. Cowan turned it around with his long-range jumper, and the Terps held on after Wisconsin’s Nate Reuvers missed two 3-pointers in the final 33 seconds.
Cowan scored 21 points on the strength of 11-for-13 free-throw shooting. Jalen Smith and Eric Ayala each scored 11 and Bruno Fernando had 10.
Nate Reuvers scored a career-high 18 for Wisconsin. Ethan Happ finished with 10, half his season average.
Nebraska 66, (at) No. 25 Indiana 51: Glynn Watson Jr. scored 15 points, Isaac Copeland added 14 and James Palmer Jr. to help Nebraska upset Indiana. The Cornhuskers (13-4, 3-3 Big Ten) have won two straight overall and three straight in the series. They never trailed.
Romeo Langford had 18 points and Juwan Morgan finished with 17 on a miserable shooting night for the Hoosiers (12-5, 3-3), who have lost three in a row. Indiana’s 10-game home winning streak also ended.
(At) Ohio State 65, No. 17 Michigan State 55: Carly Santoro scored a season-high 25 points to reach the 1,000-career plateau and Ohio State beat Michigan State.
Ohio State had its 15-point, second-half lead cut to six points with 53.8 seconds left when Jenna Allen was left open for a 3-pointer to cap a 6-0 run. But the Buckeyes made eight straight free throws from there to seal it.
Dorka Juhasz and Janai Crooms each scored 10 points and Makayla Waterman grabbed 10 rebounds for Ohio State (6-8, 2-3 Big Ten), which has won back-to-back games against ranked teams following a five-game losing streak. Santoro entered needing nine points to reach the milestone.
Shay Colley had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State (12-4, 2-3), which faces No. 9 Maryland on Thursday.