The preliminaries are over and the stage is finally set for the Carrier Dome Clash between #2 Syracuse and #17 Duke Saturday evening. Duke cleared a big hurdle by beating Pittsburgh Monday and the Orange followed suit tonight with a 67-57 road win against Wake Forest.
Tyler Ennis led SU with 18 points, but appeared to tweak his ankle late in the second half and needs to be 100% Saturday for the Cuse to fend off the Blue Devils. C.J. Fair chipped in with 16 points, and Jerami Grant notched 10, but as usual the key to victory was the team’s suffocating 2-3 zone. Wake Forest became the latest in a long line of ACC foes to be held under 60 points, and a 3-20 showing from 3-point range was their ultimate downfall.
Monday’s triumph for Duke means they'll enter Saturday's contest riding a 5-game winning streak, and sporting a 6-2 record in conference play. The Cuse are, of course, still undefeated and riding a 20-game winning streak, with a 7-0 mark in their first season of ACC play.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the only coach in Men’s Division 1 history with more career wins (974) than Jim Boeheim (940). The two men have faced each other on two previous occasions, each winning once.
The stakes could have been even higher for Saturday’s 6:30 tip, but #1 Arizona barely held off Stanford by the final of 60-57 to ensure that they will maintain the nation’s top spot heading into a major match-up of their own, at California Saturday night.