Controversial call, Boeheim's ejection cost Syracuse at Duke

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 04:00 PM

Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair were trouble for Duke.

The Blue Devils’ Rodney Hood, said his coach, was “the guy.”

The 6-foot-8 Mississippi sophomore drew a charge from Fair on the baseline, leading to the ejection of Jim Boeheim with 10.4 seconds left as No. 5 Duke beat No. 1 Syracuse 66-60 Saturday night.

Duke point guard Quinn Cook iced the game by hitting 3-of-4 technical free throws to make it 63-58.

“We needed a big play,” said Hood, who slid off Jerami Grant to help close the drive. “They’ve been in those kinds of games all season long. They’re a veteran team in that situation. I wasn’t guarding him, but I knew they were going to C.J.”

And Boeheim said he found out he could still get on the court and into an official’s grill.

“C.J. got into his motion, and the guy was moving,” Boeheim said. “It’s a new rule. It was a block.”

Ironically, Hood was in a questionable call at Syracuse when Duke lost 91-89 in overtime on a dunk play.

“The basketball gods, they’re the best,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “They put Rodney in the two defining plays, the dunk that was maybe a foul up there, and the charge which I think was a charge today. He was in the play both times.”

Ennis, along with Duke freshman Jabari Parker among the best rookies in all of college basketball, was adept all night at creating space with his dribble — and his body, much to the chagrin of the Blue Devils. Rasheed Sulaimon, who guarded Ennis, said the freshman has amazing basketball IQ.

“One thing about him, he knows how to change space,” Sulaimon said.

Parker finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Hood had 13 points and seven rebounds for Duke (22-6, 11-4 ACC).

The Orange (25-2, 12-2 ACC), which lost to Boston College at home on Wednesday, were led by Grant with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Fair had 12 points and seven boards. Ennis, a superb floor general, finished with nine points, six assists, four steals and just two turnovers in 40 minutes.

“It seemed like both teams were scoring easy up at Syracuse and today it was really difficult to score,” Krzyzewski said. “I don’t know how either team could play any harder. What a great environment.

“Their celebration of basketball up there and our celebration here was phenomenal. It’s what makes our sport so good.”

Duke escaped the first half tied at 26 despite shooting 3-for-11 on 3-pointers and 3-for-9 at the foul line. It was also troubled by failing to generate offense from flashes to the high post. That changed in the second half.

“Our defense was really good,” Krzyzewski said. “Their defense adjusted what they did in the zone. When we flashed, they stayed with shooters. Up there, when we flashed, they collapsed on shooters. They stayed with shooters today. What turned out to be a good move was putting Rodney in there.

“That part of the game was amazing.”

As was the finish.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.