EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Freshman point guard Tyus Jones scored 21 points, Justise Winslow hit two key baskets late in the game and No. 2 Duke beat defending national champion Connecticut 66-56 on Thursday night.
Winslow and Jahlil Okafor -- the other two members of the Blue Devils' trio of talented freshmen -- added 12 points apiece. Ahead 30-25 at the break, Duke (10-0) got off to a slow start in the second half and UConn (4-4) tied it.
Amile Jefferson added 11 points and 13 rebounds for Duke in a game that had the feel and intensity of a NCAA tournament contest.
Ryan Boatright had 22 points to lead the Huskies. Kentan Facey added 14 points and Daniel Hamilton had 10.
Duke has won all 10 of its games by at least 10 points, but this one was a lot closer being played in the Izod Center in the Meadowlands sports complex before a near sellout, pro-Huskies crowd.
The Blue Devils led by five at the half despite turning the ball over 12 times, but it was obvious Coach K was not happy. After Duke missed the opening shot of the second half, Connecticut got an easy basket.
That didn't turn the tide right away. UConn tied the game at 30 and had a chance to take the lead but Boatright missed the second of two free throws.
It was all Duke after that. The Blue Devils went on a 15-2 spurt with Winslow putting in a rebound and Jones hitting a layup for the first four points.
Connecticut made a couple of runs. It drew within 53-45 on one of Boatright's three second-half 3-pointers, but Okafor hit two free throws.
Consecutive rebound follows by Facey got UConn within 57-51 with 3:48 to play, but Winslow hit a 3-pointer off a Jones feed and Jones added two free throws to push the lead to 62-51.
Connecticut's last chance came when Boatright hit another 3-pointer to close to gap to 62-56 with 2:00 to go, but Winslow followed the second of two missed free throws by Okafor with a rebound layup and Duke was never threatened.
Quinn Cook added 10 points for Duke, which did not get a point from its bench. The Blue Devils came into the game shooting almost 54 percent from the field. They were limited to 37.5 percent by Connecticut on 18 of 48 shooting. The difference was at the free throw line where Duke was 25 of 34.
Connecticut, which shot nearly 43 percent, only took 13 free throws, making seven.