Second half surge leads Duke past Tulsa 70-52

DURHAM, N.C.Nolan Smith had 18 points, Kyle Singler added 17 and No. 5 Duke pulled away to beat Tulsa 70-52 on Thursday night.

Jon Scheyer finished with 15 points for the Blue Devils (24-4). They used an big run early in the second half to break open a surprisingly tight game and extend their decade-long nonconference winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 77.

Jerome Jordan had 12 points to lead the Golden Hurricane (19-9). In losing their fourth straight, they finished with a season-low point total and were denied the first victory against a top-five team since 1996.

Leading scorer Ben Uzoh, who entered on a streak of three straight 20-point games, finished with eight on 3-of-15 shooting.

Brian Zoubek, a 7-foot-1 senior who has emerged lately as one of Duke’s most valuable players, had 10 points and 11 rebounds. He started the game-breaking 18-3 run with a layup through the 7-foot Jordan’s foul with 19:05 remaining.

Smith reeled off six straight points and Scheyer scored eight in a row before Miles Plumlee hit a hook shot to make it 52-36 with 13½ minutes left.

That had the Blue Devils well on their way to their 18th straight win at Cameron. They have won 41 straight at home against unranked opponents, they are 16-0 there this season with all but one of those victories by double figures, and Friday makes it 10 years since a non-Atlantic Coast Conference team beat them on their home court.

Justin Hurtt added 11 points for the Golden Hurricane and tied it at 34 with a free throw with 19:20 to play, but they missed 6 of 7 shots after that while turning it over three times during Duke’s decisive spurt.

Steven Idlet had 10 points for Tulsa, which shot 26 percent from the field during the second half and finished 1 of 10 from 3-point range.

Lance Thomas had 10 rebounds for ACC-leading Duke.

At least on the surface, the late-February timing of this game seemed unusual. But coach Mike Krzyzewski scheduled this break in the ACC schedule with the NCAA tournament in mind, hoping to give his Blue Devils a test against a quality, unfamiliar nonconference opponent.

And for a while, they got one.

The Golden Hurricane kept themselves within striking distance through the first half, never allowing Duke to lead by more than 10 points and clawing back to tie it at 28 on Bryson Pope’s layup 3 minutes before the break. That, despite a miserable start to the half by their top player: Uzoh missed eight of his first 10 shots.

Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik was no stranger to Duke’s hostile arena: He was on Matt Doherty’s staff at rival North Carolina from 2000-03, and those teams went 1-2 at Cameron. But ultimately, that familiarity couldn’t help the Golden Hurricane claim the program’s third victory against a top-five team and first since knocking off then-No. 5 UCLA in 1996.