CHICAGO -- The scary thing is, No. 1 Duke is going to get better.
Facing its first top 10 opponent of the season, Duke made easy work of No. 7 Iowa on Tuesday night, beating the Hawkeyes 80-62 in the first night of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Blue Devils (5-0) got contributions from just about everyone, and served notice they can be as dominant as last season's NCAA championship squad -- even without Shane Battier.
"This team is not in competition with last year's team," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "This team has to run its own race. This team has to go through its own process and handling the mantle of being No. 1.
"They have a lot of pressure on them. I believe we can become better as a result."
They're pretty good already. Jason Williams scored 25 points and had five assists, and former Juneau-Douglas High School star Carlos Boozer had his third straight double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Chris Duhon had 11 assists to go with his nine points -- including a nice alley-oop feed to Williams. Mike Dunleavy had 18 points, going 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
The ACC took a 3-1 lead over the Big Ten in the first day of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. In other ACC/Big Ten Challenge games Tuesday, No. 5 Maryland beat No. 2 Illinois 76-63 at home, No. 25 Wake Forest beat Minnesota at home and Ohio State beat North Carolina State 64-50 in the only first-night game not featuring ranked teams.
Duke broke the game open with an 8-2 run late in the first half, and Iowa never recovered. The Hawkeyes (4-2) cut the lead to 73-61 on Luke Recker's layup with 4:21 to play, but they just didn't have the firepower to keep up.
"We can't allow ourselves to get down like that," Recker said. "We're not at their level."
Recker led Iowa with 15 points, but he was 7-of-18 overall and just 1-of-8 from 3-point range. Reggie Evans, who came into the game averaging 21.6 points and 11.4 rebounds, was held to eight points and nine rebounds.
It was Iowa's second loss to a top-five team in the past week. The Hawkeyes lost to then-No. 5 Missouri last Wednesday.
"We know we're very good," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "We didn't have one of our better nights and Duke's very good. They had a lot to do with us not playing well tonight."
The Blue Devils improved their record against ranked teams to 34-13 since 1997-98. They've won 15 of 19 games when both teams are in the top 10.
It may only be the end of November, but this had all the makings of a late-season matchup. Both teams played with the energy and intensity of a tournament game, and when Williams appeared to get knocked over early in the second half, things got a little testy. Both coaches protested to referees, and there were some hard fouls on each side the rest of the game.
But it takes more than a physical game to derail Duke.
"We came in with a big-game mindset," Dunleavy said. "There was the usual anti-Duke crowd, so it was a fun game."
The Hawkeyes won four games in as many days at the United Center last March to capture the Big Ten Tournament title, and the pro-Iowa crowd sensed another big victory as Duke got off to a sluggish start.
In the first eight minutes, the Blue Devils turned the ball over five times and were outrebounded a whopping 15-5. And when Chicago-area native Ryan Hogan hit a 15-foot jumper to spark a 7-0 run that gave Iowa a 17-12 lead with 10:52 left in the first half, the crowd was on its feet and roaring.
But in a two-minute span, Duke took control of the game. After Hogan connected on a short jumper, Duhon hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Recker responded with a pull-up jumper, but Duhon came right back with another 3.
Then Williams picked off a bad pass by Pierre Pierce and raced downcourt for the easy dunk. Just like that, Duke had a 30-23 lead with 4:45 to play in the first half.
"We've got a lot of potential, and our club has the ability to play together," Williams said. "You see the talent on some NBA teams, but they can't play together like we can."
The Hawkeyes kept at it, but the Blue Devils had an answer for everything. When Recker hit a 3, Dunleavy connected on a spinning jumper. When Pierce made a layup, Dunleavy hit one of his own and Williams followed with a beautiful alley-oop from Duhon.
And when Glen Worley scored on a layup to pull Iowa to 38-32 with 41 seconds left, Dunleavy coolly drilled a 3-pointer from 24 feet.
"The NBA 3-pointer by Dunleavy at the end of the half was huge," Recker said.
No. 5 Maryland 76, No. 2 Illinois 63
In College Park, Md., Juan Dixon scored 25 points and No. 5 Maryland built a 20-point lead and held off No. 2 Illinois 76-63 Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
It was the 80th consecutive nonconference home victory for Maryland, the longest such run in the nation.
After the Terrapins (4-1) went up by 12 at halftime, Dixon scored seven points in a 10-2 run at the outset of the second half to make it 51-31. Despite playing its fifth game in nine days, Illinois (5-1) fought back -- even after leading rebounder Brian Cook fouled out with 5:11 left.
No. 25 Wake Forest 85, Minnesota 79
The host Demon Deacons (5-1) got 23 points from Darius Songaila, 21 from Josh Howard and 19 from Antwan Scott to give the Atlantic Coast Conference a 3-1 lead after the first day of the nine-game series.
Minnesota (3-1) was up 79-74 with 1:30 left, but Wake Forest scored the final 11 points as Scott made a three-point play, Broderick Hicks hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left, Ervin Murray made two free throws, Songaila added two more and Howard one.
No. 12 Syracuse 70, Colgate 51
Kueth Duany scored 17 points, and Preston Shumpert added 14, while Syracuse set a school record with 16 blocks.
Syracuse (6-0) defeated Colgate (2-2) for the 36th straight time, and the host Orangemen had to do it without their leading scorer.
Guard DeShaun Williams, convicted of driving while impaired in the spring, faces a three-game suspension for violating the university's conduct code. Coach Jim Boeheim declined to say whether the absence of his star guard was part of that suspension.
Creighton 94, No. 17 W. Kentucky 91, 2OT
DeAnthony Bowden hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in the second overtime for Creighton.
Western Kentucky's Derek Robinson missed a 3-pointer, and the rebound trickled out of bounds as time expired. The officials signaled that it was the end of the game, and the Creighton student section stormed the court to congratulate the Bluejays.
Brody Deren scored 21 points and Terrell Taylor and Joe Dabbert each scored 14 for the Bluejays (2-0), who rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to take the visiting Hilltoppers (4-1) into overtime.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.