Banchero’s 16 points and 14 boards lead No. 7 Duke past BC

BOSTON — – Paolo Banchero scored 16 points and had 14 rebounds and the No. 7 Duke pulled out midway through the second period for a 72-61 win over Boston College on Saturday.

Wendell Moore Jr. added 14 points, Trevor Keels had 13, and AJ Griffin and Mark Williams each had 10 for the Blue Devils (21-4, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

James Karnik led BC (9-14, 4-9) with 21 points and nine rebounds, DeMarr Langford finished with 16 points and Makai Ashton-Langford had 10 points and seven rebounds.

With former Duke star Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics sitting behind the Blue Devils bench and Celtics president Brad Stevens sitting courtside in a sold-out Tale Forum, the Eagles surprisingly kept a two possession game for most of the first half.

Griffin hit a 3 from left wing, giving Duke a 33-26 advantage late in the half. Williams’ dunk off a pass from Banchero made it 37-28 at the break.

Duke opened up its first double-digit lead of the game early in the second half and pushed it to 51-36 when Moore fired a 3-pointer past his team’s bench and Tatum, who also carried 0 in his only season with the Blue Devils.

With BC football coach Jeff Hafley helping cheer on the student section behind a basket in front of Duke’s bench, the Eagles had cut their deficit to seven, but Duke went 11-0 and opened their lead at 62-44 with just under eight minutes remaining. Moore also had a 3 in this run.

The Blue Devils stretched their lead to over 20 points with just under four minutes to play.

The Blue Devils beat BC for the 19th time in their last 21 meetings, with one of the losses coming at Conte on Dec. 9, 2017, when Duke was No. 1.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: Sitting atop the ACC, the Blue Devils are targeting a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they finish the regular season strong.

Boston College: In coach Earl Grant’s freshman year, the Eagles just didn’t have the talent to take on elite teams like Duke offensively, but they did play solid defense — a staple of the years Grant’s coaching at the College of Charleston – so they seem to keep most games respectable.

CAMERON NORTH

Duke fans, dressed in their blue and white, lined up most of the lower bowl an hour before the tip, watching the Blue Devils warm up.

They burst in singing “Let’s go, Duke!” when the Blue Devils took control midway through the second half.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

Despite a last-second loss at home to Virginia on Monday, the Blue Devils should stay close to where they are or could gain a spot or two with No. 4 Purdue being blasted by Michigan this week and Houston, ranked sixth, falling to Memphis by double digits.

DOWN ONE

The match was only officiated by two referees as Jerry Heater was out with a non-COVID-19 illness.

FOLLOWING

Duke: Host Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Boston College: at Notre Dame on Wednesday.

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