It was only fitting that one of the most anticipated games of the season would come down to the final possession. in overtime.
With Syracuse up by two with four seconds left, Quinn Cook missed a shot that would have tied the game as time expired. Instead, the Orange escaped with a 91-89 victory.
With the win, Syracuse improved to 21-0, while Duke fell to 17-4.
Before the game even started, Syracuse gave Duke 35,446 reasons to wilt under the pressure of the city's most anticipated regular season game in recent memory. The Carrier Dome was packed. The GameDay crew was on hand. The students started camping out a week ago.
Neither team led by more than five in the first half, with an Amile Jefferson dunk making it 38-35 in favor of Syracuse at the break. But Jefferson was also in the middle of what could have been a turning-point play midway through the second half.
Jefferson committed his fourth foul with 11:27 to play. Until then, he had scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists. Jabari Parker picked up his fourth less than a minute later with 10:45 to play, sending him to the bench with 13 points and seven boards. The game was tied at 56-56 at the time and Duke was left without an interior presence.
With Duke's frontcourt on the bench, the Orange quickly looked inside and took a three-point lead behind two dunks from Fair. The Syracuse advantage forced Mike Krzyzewski to put Jefferson back in the game with around eight minutes to go, taking the chance that he would foul out early.
And while the Blue Devils were unable to contend inside, even with Jefferson back in the game, Tyler Thornton shot Duke back into the game. He hit threes on three consecutive possessions to help counter four straight Syracuse baskets. Parker soon came back in, hitting a layup with 4:11 to play to tie the game again at 70-70.
Fair quickly gave the Orange the lead back, and the Syracuse defense stepped up after that. Duke turned the ball over in its next possession. After that, the Blue Devils were forced to take a long three with the shot clock winding down. Then, Parker committed a questionable offensive foul, ending his night and giving it back to Syracuse with 1:42 to play.
Parker finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
And still, Duke wouldn't go away. With Syracuse up by three with four seconds left in regulation, Rasheed Sulaimon took the ball the length of the court to force overtime:
Duke's three-point shooting kept the Blue Devils ahead through much of the extra session. They answered the Orange's vaunted 2-3 zone to the tune of 15 made threes for the game.
But free throws from Tyler Ennis put Syracuse up one with six seconds left. Needing to foul, Matt Jones and Thornton both collided with Fair, with Thornton narrowly avoiding a flagrant foul. The officials reviewed the play before ruling it a personal foul on Jones, giving Fair two free throws.
He made one of two, setting up Duke's final chance.
Fair led all scorers with 28 points and Jerami Grant added 24 more for Syracuse. Five Blue Devils scored in double figures, led by 16 from Sulaimon.