Chris Duhon has had to wait his turn behind a lineup of star players for No. 4 Duke. The freshman's moment came Saturday.
Duhon hit a running, off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer as the Blue Devils (25-3 overall, 12-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied in the closing minutes to beat No. 24 Wake Forest, 82-80.
"That's a shot you practice, but it's usually used when big men are coming to block your shot, to shoot it over them," the 6-foot-2 Duhon said. "I knew I didn't have time to set up and shoot a jumper, so I just played off instinct."
Robert O'Kelley's three-pointer for Wake Forest with 7.5 seconds left tied it at 80-80. But Duke raced downcourt and Duhon, the team's top reserve all year, hit the winner over Broderick Hicks as the Blue Devils defeated the Demon Deacons for the 10th straight time.
"O'Kelley was O'Kelley," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Wake Forest senior who has scored 1,830 career points. "What a shot he hits to tie the game. It was like an incredible play had to beat an incredible play."
The Blue Devils had lost their previous conference road game, 91-89, at Virginia on Feb. 14. That defeat ended Duke's record 24-game road winning streak in the ACC.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils trailed by nine with 5:29 left. But they went on a 14-2 run to take an 80-77 lead as Jason Williams, hurt early in the second half, returned to score 26 points.
Williams hit a three-pointer and a shot in the lane during Duke's late spurt. He also fed Duhon for the winning basket.
"Chris has the ability to float," Krzyzewski said. "It's not the last of shots like that that he'll hit."
Early in the season, Williams said he may have opted to take a three-pointer instead of passing to his fellow guard.
"Heck, I think Chris is a better shooter than me," said Williams, the ACC's top three-point ace. "I went up and he caught my eye so I dished it off to him.
"We've grown up a lot together," Williams added. "In the beginning of the year he was in position, but he wouldn't shoot the ball. Truthfully, at the beginning of the year I don't know if I would have passed him the ball, but he has built some confidence and is going to be a heck of a basketball player."
The loss means the Demon Deacons (18-9, 7-8), ranked as high as No. 4 on Jan. 1, must win at North Carolina State on March 4 to reach .500 in the league.
"We lost the game, but we didn't lose our heart, we didn't lose our spirit," Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said. "As a matter of fact, I believe those things grew today."
Hoyas squeeze Orange
WASHINGTON -- It had been a long time since Georgetown's students stormed the court to celebrate a victory with the players. It hadn't happened this season, not even during the 16-game winning streak.
It happened Saturday, when the No. 21 Hoyas got their biggest home victory since coach Craig Esherick succeeded John Thompson two years ago, beating No. 17 Syracuse, 72-61.
"I can't remember a game that I thought was as big as this in terms of the national picture," Esherick said. "We have pushed ourselves. We have earned the right to be in the national picture based on our play during the course of the season. Certainly, we haven't been in this position in a while."
Demetrius Hunter, who hasn't had a full practice in more than a week because of a sore Achilles' tendon, scored 21 points as the Hoyas (21-6, 8-6) moved into a second-place tie with Syracuse in the Big East West Division. Only the top two teams get byes in the conference tournament.
Georgetown, 5-6 since starting 16-0 with the help of a weak non-conference schedule, hadn't won at home against Syracuse in five years.
Syracuse (20-7, 8-6) has lost three of four. The Orangemen were hampered because their hottest shooter, DeShaun Williams, was in foul trouble the entire game. Williams scored 16 points in 24 minutes, getting his fourth foul with 18:39 remaining and fouling out with 2:42 to play.
The Hoyas outrebounded the Orangemen, 44-24, and kept putting fresh bodies on Preston Shumpert, who was 1 for 9 from the field and scored just eight points. Shumpert, who scored in double digits the first 24 games of the season, has been held to single digits in two of the last three games.
"They beat us on the boards, and we didn't make shots," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Damone Brown (Seneca) had 14 points and six rebounds for Syracuse. Kevin Braswell had 14 point and seven assists, and Ruben Boumtje Boumtje had 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Hoyas.
Gators win SEC showdown
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Udonis Haslem scored a career-high 28 points to lift the seventh-ranked Gators (20-5, 10-4) to an 89-68 victory over No. 14 Alabama (20-7, 8-6) in the Southeastern Conference. The game was marked by the ejection of Tide coach Mark Gottfried as part of a 34-second flurry of bad temper that resulted in three Alabama technical fouls.
"It came quickly," Tide forward Rod Grizzard said. "There's really nothing you can do about it. Coach got a little ahead of himself. He said he wouldn't do it, but he did, and it kind of snowballed"
Moments after Gottfried's exit, forward Erwin Dudley showed his displeasure with a call by slapping the ball hard against the scoreboard above the basket. He got hit with a technical.
BC a beast in Big East
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Boston College went into last year's Big East Tournament with almost no chance at winning a game. In this season's conference tournament, the Eagles will be one of four teams to get an opening-round bye.
The 10th-ranked Eagles (20-4, 11-3) continued their pursuit of becoming the first team in league history to go from last to first with a 59-58 victory over No. 25 Providence (20-8, 10-5).
"It clearly improves your chances to have some wins in the tournament," Boston College coach Al Skinner said of the bye into the quarterfinals that was clinched with this win. "No team has won four games in the Big East championship, so from that standpoint it's very important if we're going to make a run for that thing."
Last season, the Eagles went into the opening round of the tournament with a 10-18 record and lost to Connecticut by 15 points.
"Our seniors won't allow us to play non-aggressively because they've had some terrible years here and they're not going to give it back," Skinner said. "They have one last shot."
Troy Bell and Uka Agbai each had 16 points for the Eagles.
Around the nation
Juan Dixon scored all 23 of his points in the second half as No. 20 Maryland (18-9) extended its home non-conference winning streak to 77 games by pulling away to a 68-60 victory over No. 16 Oklahoma (21-6). Kelley Newton scored 14 points for the Sooners.
Maurice Evans scored 28 points as Texas (21-7, 10-4) took a 94-78 win over No. 6 Iowa State (23-4, 11-3) in the Big 12. The Cyclones, who got 19 points from Jamal Tinsley, had won 10 consecutive conference games.
Jason Collins scored a career-high 33 points as top-ranked Stanford (25-1, 13-1) eased to a 99-79 Pacific-10 Conference win over Washington (9-18, 3-12), which suffered its sixth straight defeat. Casey Jacobsen added 21 points for Stanford; Michael Johnson, Will Perkins and Curtis Allen all had 14 points for the Huskies.
Marcus Griffin scored 17 points as No. 3 Illinois (22-6, 12-3) breezed to an 89-63 Big Ten victory over Iowa (18-9, 7-7). Illinois finished unbeaten at home for the first time since 1988-89, also the last time the Illini reached the Final Four. The Illini have won 18 straight at the Assembly Hall.
Charlie Bell and Jason Richardson each scored 16 points to lead No. 5 Michigan State (22-3, 11-3) to a 76-57 Big Ten victory over Penn State (16-9, 6-8). Gyasi Cline-Heard led Penn State with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Justin Reed had 21 points and Rahim Lockhart 16 as No. 12 Mississippi (22-5, 10-4) took a 64-62 SEC win over Auburn (16-11, 6-8). Adam Harrington led Auburn with 16 points, but was short on a jumper that would have tied the game in the final seconds.
Earl Watson scored 20 points and Billy Knight hit a big three-pointer in overtime as No. 15 UCLA (19-6, 12-2) scored a 68-65 triumph over Oregon State (10-17, 4-11) in the Pac-10 for its seventh straight win. Knight's shot gave the Bruins a 64-60 lead with 49.6 seconds left. Jason Heide scored 19 points to lead the Beavers.
Troy Murphy had 20 points and 10 rebounds and No. 18 Notre Dame (19-6, 11-3) posted its biggest margin of victory in the Big East and clinched first place in the Western Division with an 85-61 demolition of Virginia Tech (8-18, 2-13).
Tom Coverdale scored 24 points and Indiana (17-11, 8-6) hit 14 three-pointers in an 85-55 Big Ten win over No. 19 Wisconsin (17-8, 8-6). It was the most points allowed by the Badgers in more than five years.
Vincent Yarbrough scored 20 points as No. 22 Tennessee (19-9, 6-8) broke a five-game losing skid with a 78-70 SEC victory over Vanderbilt (15-12, 4-10).