RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Duke was content to let North Carolina State's burly big man put up big numbers as long as the ninth-ranked Blue Devils closed out on outside shooters.

They executed that plan to perfection.

Jeremy Roach had 21 points and freshman Jared McCain scored 14 of his 16 after halftime to help Duke pull away and beat N.C. State 79-64 on Monday night, staying in position to claim at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title by the weekend.

The Blue Devils (24-6, 15-4 ACC) gave up a season-high 27 points to Wolfpack big man DJ Burns Jr. and his array of deft-touch shots in the paint. But Duke handled everything else: few turnovers (five), few transition chances allowed (four fast-break points for the Wolfpack) and little surrendered from outside (3 for 9 from 3-point range).

“Burns is a handful, obviously," Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “But we took away their 3s. Sometimes it can hurt you where you’re giving up both, you’re giving up him and you’re giving up 3s. Our thing was just try to make him work for everything. We did that.”

McCain sparked the decisive surge for the Blue Devils, who went from battling through a cold-shooting first half that put them in a 9-0 hole to riding a hot-shooting tear after the break. Two of his second-half 3s came during a blistering run of eight straight made shots, turning a one-point deficit into a 64-52 lead on Roach’s layup at the 7:46 mark.

Duke shot 62.5% (20 of 32) after halftime and finished with a season-high 19 offensive rebounds, leading to 23 second-chance points - with much of that work coming before halftime.

While Burns won individual matchups inside by making 12 of 19 shots, the Wolfpack (17-13, 9-10) found little to back that up. Most notably, leading scorer DJ Horne (17.6 points per game) had just eight points on eight shots.

“I just thought they did a good job on every ball screen, getting over those ball screens and not going under anything, and making it tough,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said.


Duke: The Blue Devils have been hovering right behind No. 7 North Carolina atop the ACC standings. This win ensures Duke can win at least a share of the regular-season title by beating UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack's NCAA resume looked iffy coming into Monday with a No. 80 NET and a 1-6 record in Quadrant 1 games, with the lone win at Clemson (25th in NET) on Feb. 17. Beating the Blue Devils (10th) would have provided a jolt of optimism, though there would've been work still ahead at the ACC Tournament. Instead, N.C. State has lost three straight and four of five.


Duke star big man Kyle Filipowski (nine points) was limited by first-half foul trouble, but the Blue Devils offset that with a big performance from 6-foot-9 freshman reserve Sean Stewart.

“He just competed, man,” Scheyer said.

Stewart had 12 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 26 minutes.

“We've been real locked in on the (scouting reports) and everything," Stewart said. “So just to have all that show in the games, it shows how locked in we are and we're ready to compete.”


Duke: The Blue Devils host the rival Tar Heels on Saturday.

N.C. State: Plays at Pittsburgh on Saturday night.


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