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Duke pulls away to hammer the Eagles, 80-55

Blue Devils start slow, but roll late

Duke’s RJ Barrett (5) is defended by Boston College’s Ky Bowman (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

By Joedy McCreary

AP Sports Writer

DURHAM (AP) — No. 2 Duke has the highest-scoring duo in the country — and if Cameron Reddish can stay hot, yet another effective scoring option.

Reddish scored 24 points, helping the Blue Devils pull away to beat Boston College 80-55 on Tuesday night.

Zion Williamson had 16 points and a season-best 17 rebounds, RJ Barrett finished with 19 points and Tre Jones added 11 points for Duke (20-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Williamson and Barrett average a combined 45.4 points — the most by two teammates in Division I.

Reddish averages 13 but is capable of putting up big numbers, too. This was his fifth 20-point game.

“Obviously, we’ve got a great team around me,” Reddish said. “Everybody can contribute. Tonight was just my night, and I was making shots. It happens.”

The Blue Devils overcame some shaky early shooting by shooting 63 percent after halftime to claim their sixth straight win, and they will be no worse than tied for first in the league standings when they visit No. 3 Virginia on Saturday night.

Jordan Chatman scored 16 points while North Carolina native Ky Bowman finished with 11 — he averages 20.8 — on 5-of-17 shooting while facing constant pressure from Jones. BC (11-10, 2-7) gave Duke fits for a half before fading down the stretch of its third straight loss.

“They ramped it up all over the floor,” coach Jim Christian said. “We knew that. We needed to meet their intensity, and I thought the first five minutes of the second half, all the things we did really, really well in the first half, we didn’t do well on the defensive end.”

Reddish finished one point shy of his previous high, set Nov. 11 against Army, and this was his best game since scoring 23 at Florida State on Jan. 12 and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

He scored 10 points in less than four minutes, hitting two 3s three possessions apart while starting the 23-8 run that put the Blue Devils in control. The lead gradually grew from there, with Alex O’Connell making it a 20-point game with his jumper with about five minutes left.

Reddish’s best play might have been the one that started that decisive burst: He stripped Bowman in the backcourt and hit a layup in the final second of the half — one of his two steals.

“It reminded me of (NBA star Grant Hill), what he was doing, because he’s 6-foot-8 and he’s so long,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And I think that helped him offensively. Because you’re moving strong, you’re playing strong, and it translates to other aspects of your game.”

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: Bowman saves some of his best performances for the four ACC schools from his home state — he scored 33 points two years ago against North Carolina and 30 in last year’s victory over Duke, and helped them take a 30-28 halftime lead. But until now he never had to contend with Jones, one reason why the Eagles remained winless at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke: The Blue Devils were at both extremes with their enigmatic 3-point shooting. Duke, which entered shooting a program-worst 30.9 percent from long distance, missed 14 of 15 3s in the first half while trailing 30-28 at the break. And then the Blue Devils hit four of their first six in the second half while they pulled away.

ZIONLIGHT

Even Williamson’s missed dunks draw oohs and aahs. It looked like it was showtime when he stole a pass near midcourt with about nine minutes left and had a breakaway. But when the ball slipped off his wet hands, he sent his reverse dunk hard off the iron — his first miss on a breakaway all season.

“The ref would tell me, ‘Z, tuck your jersey in,’ and I’d be like, ‘Mr. Ref, my jersey’s wet. I sweat a lot,’” Williamson said. “I wasn’t mad at the ref. I was mad at myself for trying to go too fast.”

TRE BIEN

Jones has locked down on two high-scoring guards in a four-day span. He held St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds — who averages 20.9 points — to 11 points before leading the defensive effort against Bowman.

UP NEXT

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Saturday.

Duke: Visits Virginia on Saturday night in a rematch of the Blue Devils’ 72-70 victory three weeks ago.

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