Duke 93, Boston College 82
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2017
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
DURHAM – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Duke had to deal with a little game pressure by the end of Saturday afternoon’s assignment, but the Blue Devils dealt with that amid a challenging stretch of the season. Freshman Jayson Tatum scored 22 points to lead six players in double figures as No. 8 Duke, playing without Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, defeated visiting Boston College 93-82 at Cameron Indoor Stadium
BC Coach Jim Christian
Jeff Capel is serving as interim coach, and the Blue Devils mostly made it easy on him until the waning minutes as he began this new role.
“These are situations we can’t simulate in practice,” Capel said, referring to the tense moments after Duke’s 25-point lead shrunk to six. “Our guys stepped up and made big plays.”
Boston College closed to within 79-71 with 4:47 to play. Duke had missed 10 shots in a row from the field.
Tatum’s 3-pointer with 1:55 left pushed Duke to an 87-77 edge. Jerome Robinson answered with a 3, but following a Duke turnover he missed a layup. Still, it was 88-82 with 44 seconds remaining before Tatum drained four consecutive free throws.
“I think we needed that (3-point basket),” Tatum said. “Then we fed off the crowd’s energy.”
Duke forward Amile Jefferson, a fifth-year senior, scored 11 points before he limped to the bench with 7:13 left in the first half with a right foot injury and he didn’t play again. He and Luke Kennard are the only Duke players to start all 16 games this season.
Frank Jackson had 15 points, Grayson Allen added 12, Harry Giles supplied 12 points before fouling out with 3:41 left and Matt Jones had 10 points for Duke (14-2, 2-1 ACC)
“We thought the game was over and we do can whatever we want and not play defense,” Jones said of the sudden change. “(Coach Capel) told us to take a deep breath.”
Capel, who’s filling in for perhaps up to a month after Krzyzewski underwent back surgery Friday, is in his sixth season on Duke’s staff. He’s a former Duke player who went on to be head coach at Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma.
Robinson, who’s from nearby Raleigh, had 21 points, Ky Bowman poured in 19 points and A.J. Turner added 13 points for Boston College (8-8, 1-2).
“The problem with our team right now is we don’t realize we’re a very good basketball team,” Boston College coach Jim Christian said. “When we don’t have those lapses, we’re very good.”
Duke bolted to a 53-34 halftime lead on the strength of 63.3-percent shooting from the field and Boston College’s 17 turnovers in the first 19 minutes. The Eagles finished with 21 turnovers.
The Blue Devils got rolling a few minutes into the game, with Allen delivering a behind-the-back pass in transition so Jefferson could score on a layup. That contributed to building a 22-14 lead.
Duke had the transition attack revved up and nothing might have topped by Giles’ field goal while he was fouled as the ball somehow spun into the basket. The Blue Devils topped the 50-point mark in the first half for the second game in a row.
Bowman, a freshman guard in his second consecutive college game in his home state, scored nine of Boston College’s first 11 points. He was 4-for-7 with five turnovers in 17 first-half minutes.
“Playing in front of family and friends is probably fun for them,” Christian said of Robinson and Bowman. “It’s a game against a great team.”
Tatum went to the bench with his fourth foul with more than 14 minutes remaining and Duke holding a 67-47 lead. About a minute later, teammate Marques Bolden was tagged with his fourth foul.
NOTES: With a winter storm striking the region and students still on break, the arena was less than full. … Duke G Luke Kennard’s streak of 19 consecutive games with at least one 3-point basket is the longest active streak in the ACC. … Last season, Capel filled in for Krzyzewski, who was ill and missed a game at Georgia Tech. … Duke has won 11 consecutive games in the series with Boston College. The Eagles are 0-9 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. … Duke plays its next two games on the road against nationally ranked teams, beginning Tuesday night at Florida State. … Boston College plays Wednesday night at home against North Carolina State.