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Different coaches in new era for Syracuse-Duke rivalry


It’s certain that the whole mold of a Syracuse-Duke matchup has been altered.

But that might not diminish some of the intrigue for the Atlantic Coast Conference meeting Tuesday night in Durham, N.C.

Syracuse (10-3, 1-1 ACC) seems on an upward trend after the past few weeks with a five-game winning streak. No. 14 Duke (9-3, 0-1) has shown progress during that time frame as well by winning four straight games.

“The blueprint for us is coming out with an edge, coming out really aggressive on defense, and then playing together on offense,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said.

Early after Syracuse’s entry into the ACC, Syracuse-Duke games were defined by the coaching matchups. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is the NCAA’s all-time winningest Division I men’s coach and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim is second behind him. Boeheim had served multiple stints as an assistant coach on gold-medal winning U.S. national team staffs under Krzyzewski.

But this is the second season since Krzyzewski’s retirement. This is the first matchup between the teams since Boeheim retired last spring.

Yet it was 10 years ago this winter when the most repeated video clip of a Syracuse-Duke game occurred — an outraged Boeheim charging onto the Cameron Indoor Stadium court to protest a late-game call in what became a loss at Duke just shortly after the Hall of Fame coach was ejected.

Now, these teams are directed by Scheyer at Duke and Adrian Autry at Syracuse. They’re both former guards at those respective schools.

The Blue Devils have won eight games in a row in the series.

Duke throttled visiting Queens 106-69 on Saturday in nonconference action. Part of the boost for the Blue Devils came with the return of guard Tyrese Proctor, who missed the previous four weeks with an ankle injury. Proctor had nine points and four assists in 18 minutes.

“We want to be very cautious with him, but at the same time, you have to get back out there at some time,” Scheyer said. “There’s going to be rust no matter what and there’s game shape no matter what. We felt this was an important step for him.”

Syracuse received a combined 52 points from reserves Quadir Copeland, Benny Williams and Maliq Brown in Saturday’s 81-73 comeback ACC victory against visiting Pitt. Autry said the Orange depends on more than five players and that’s become increasingly apparent.

“We won the rebounding, and I think that’s a key for our team,” Autry said. “We had a level of aggression to fight. We could do some things better.”

Williams had his first double-figure scoring game of the season with 15 points Saturday.

“Just be yourself and relax,” Autry said of the approach with Williams. “He has just kept working.”

Still, guard Judah Mintz leads the Orange in scoring with 19.2 points per game.

Duke hasn’t played an ACC game since a Dec. 2 loss at Georgia Tech. The return to conference action ought to have the Blue Devils’ attention.

“Just staying with our habits and just keep building day by day,” Proctor said. “Obviously, in ACC play, we’re 0-1 right now, and I think the guys realize that every game is going to be a big challenge. It’s not nonconference anymore.”

–Field Level Media

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