Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Unranked Syracuse took advantage of a slightly depleted, yet still powerful foe, taking No. 1 Duke to overtime and beating the Blue Devils at home.
The Orange claimed the 95-91 upset victory on Monday at Cameron Indoor Arena in Durham, N.C. Duke was playing without Tre Jones and Cam Reddish.
Zion Williamson went off for a game-high 35 points and had 10 rebounds and four blocks in the loss. Tyus Battle poured in 32 points and had four rebounds and four assists for the Orange. Duke star R.J. Barrett had 23 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists in the loss. Frank Howard chipped in 16 points six rebounds and five assists in the win.
"It was obviously a good win," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told reporters. "Some kid banked in a three for us and then we made a three-quarter court shot so those things happen once in a while in a game ... Duke is a special team. They didn't have their point guard for most of the game and Frank was able to take advantage."
Duke began the game on a 12-0 run before Syracuse fought back and took a lead with 5:11 remaining in the first half. The lead shifted back-and-forth before Duke took a five-point lead on a Barrett jumper 1:19 before the break. But Syracuse closed the gap once again, getting an Oshae Brissett free throw before Elijah Hughes sank nearly a full court shot at the end of the first half, making the score 49-48 at halftime.
"The start we had was just about as nightmarish as you can have," Boeheim said. "We were able to pull it right back together."
The second half featured five lead changes and was tied three different times. Battle gave the Orange an 85-84 lead by making a jumper with 1:13 remaining but Williamson sank a free throw in the final seconds to force overtime.
Hughes made a layup at the beginning of the overtime but Alex O'Connell answered or the Blue Devils by hitting a 3-pointer. Syracuse answered with a 6-0 run to take control of the contest and would never trail again.
"Very unusual night," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters. "A lot of adversity tonight. You can take, not that we are, but you can assume we're always going to be great. But life happens, and life happened to our team tonight. Some unusual things ... We started out and our kids were so ready to play. We were playing our butts off, and then obviously the injury to Tre happened."
Reddish was out with flu-like symptoms. Jones was injured early in the first half with a separated shoulder.
"So, we're a different team. Obviously, we're a different team," Krzyzewski said. "I didn't think we handled it when it all happened in the first half, especially Tre going out. We were knocked back. It gives them a lot of confidence, and they're already good. They're a really good team. I didn't think we handled it as well as I would've wanted in the first half. In the second half, we fought like crazy. We missed so many open shots, but we fought like crazy. And it'd be open, and 'ugh, ugh.'"
"I feel bad for Zion as he gets to the line, makes that first one but misses the second. We had fouls to give, so that could end the game. There are so many things when you look back, but the fact is our kids fought like crazy and put themselves in a position to win against one of the most veteran and well-coached teams in the country. But we weren't able to do it."
The Orange host Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Duke hosts No. 4 Virginia at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Durham.