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Duke pulls away late to top Holy Cross

Durham, NC (Sports Network) - Josh McRoberts and DeMarcus Nelson scored 13 points apiece, fighting back from a slow start offensively to lead the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils to a 57-45 win over the Holy Cross Crusaders.

Holy Cross (6-3) held a lead well into the second half, but the Crusaders never really heated up offensively, and Duke (8-1) fought through a sluggish start to earn the win.

McRoberts also pulled down six rebounds for the Blue Devils, who won their fourth straight after their only loss of the season, a 73-62 defeat to Marquette on November 21.

Keith Simmons was the only Crusader to score double figures on the night, with 13 points and seven rebounds. Torey Thomas scored six and grabbed six boards for Holy Cross, which has lost two straight and three of four after starting the season with five straight wins.

The Blue Devils took control of the game with a 16-2 run in the second half that turned a 34-30 deficit with just over 13 minutes remaining to a 46-36 advantage on a Gerald Henderson three with 9:37 left. Holy Cross never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Holy Cross took advantage of a slow start by the Blue Devils to take an early lead. Duke shot only 32 percent (8-of-25) from the field in the first half, and only hit one of six from behind the three-point line. The Crusaders weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut either, and they matched Duke's 12 first half turnovers with 12 of their own.

"Our offense is always a little bit better in the second half when we have more control over it," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We need that leadership when it's on the other end. We just have to get better."

A McRoberts jumper put the Blue Devils up 19-16 with 6:28 left in the first half. Duke wouldn't hit another field goal for almost six minutes, though, and Holy Cross went on a 10-1 run, taking a 26-20 lead in a Simmons dunk with just over a minute left in the half.

Holy Cross led 28-22 at the half.

Game Notes

Duke now owns the nation's longest home winning streak against non-conference opposition at 47 games, as Oklahoma's streak of 49 straight came to an end Wednesday with a loss to Villanova...Holy Cross hit only 3-of-16 from behind

the arc...Duke made only 13-of-27 free throws...Duke outrebounded Holy Cross, 34-24.

12/07 00:58:56 ET

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