Bagley returns, leads No. 5 Duke past Syracuse

Bagley returns, leads No. 5 Duke past Syracuse

Duke's offense does change some with Bagley back in the lineup.

Bagley returned to his dominant form Saturday night, scoring 19 points and grabbing 7 rebounds to lead Duke to a 60-44 win over Syracuse in his first game back after missing the past four games with a mild right knee sprain.

Despite Bagley's absence, Duke has only seen more growth on the offensive side of the ball.

As was the case in each of the past three, the Blue Devils didn't need the ACC's top scorer and rebounder - not with Allen reaching the 20-point mark for the third time in that stretch - to remain a half-game ahead of the rival Tar Heels in the race to finish second to No. 1 Virginia in the conference race.

Duke's Grayson Allen had no trouble connecting with Bagley.

Bagley showed no signs that he was still bothered by the knee injury. Frank Howard added 11 points and 7 assists. That said, Duke has been playing quite well lately and hasn't had a close game since early this month.

It seems that as the season has progressed, Carter has continued to improve.

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This Duke team averages 87 points per game, the Syracuse basketball squad has only gone over that scoring total once and that was in double overtime vs Florida State...

Carter is a force on the defensive end especially. The 2015 Blue Devils made a late-season adjustment in switching to a zone defense, and rode that wave to a national title.

The reserves were able to give the starters breaks at times during the game. Bolden played 12 minutes and White played 7 minutes. Duke, on the other hand, was riding a four-game win streak and was looking to strengthen their case for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Louisville's previous scoring low was 57 points against Purdue, but interim coach David Padgett came away impressed by the Duke defense. Against Louisville on February 21, Duke gave up 56 points.

Against Virginia Tech on February 14, Duke gave up 52 points.

Duke was 9-for-10 on free throws, while Syracuse didn't have an attempt. All of those performances have resulted in wins. According to oddsmakers from online sports book YouWager, the Blue Devils are 13-point favorites to beat the Orange this evening. Two possessions later, DeLaurier followed up another missed 3 by Allen with a stickback dunk that pushed the lead into double figures for the first time.

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