Duke Advances To The Elite Eight Thanks To Its Big Man Duo


It wasn’t exactly the prettiest game, but it was another close game, which is starting to be the theme for this NCAA Tournament. Duke held off ACC foe Syracuse 69-65 to advance to the Elite Eight.

It was the type of game Syracuse wanted to see as Duke missed a ton of open looks from three while Syracuse controlled the tempo. The Blue Devils weren’t able to get out and run, which was okay, except for those missed shots. See, that’s the thing with this version of the Syracuse zone. It’s not like they force you into difficult shots or anything like that, they just dare you to take jumpers. That’s what Duke did for the majority of the game. Instead of attacking from the free throw line and where the soft spot is in the zone, it was shooting jumpers.

Ultimately though Duke had the two bigs inside to bail them out. Marvin Bagley had 22 and 8 while Wendell Carter went for 14 and 12. They were able to attack the zone through lobs to the two bigs or getting Bagley into that high post where he eventually was able to take advantage.

Syracuse was led by Tyus Battle, who had 19 points, but it wasn’t enough. Despite keeping it close, Syracuse still needed someone else to go get buckets going just 4-for-13 from three and 64% from the free throw line wasn’t enough.

Duke plays Kansas on Sunday with the winner going to the Final Four.