DURHAM — Your clashes are important, they say, because everyone cares so much about their programs and winning.
Their friendship, they say, is even greater. On Saturday, old friends Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski met one last time at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the Blue Devils ran recklessly through the Orange 79-59.
“His kids play hard and I know I can see his two sons Buddy and Jimmy since our families grew up together for 11 years while USA Basketball and Julie was there,” Krzyzewski said. “You don’t pay attention to that during a game, but after the game you get a little emotional because they’re beautiful people.”
Krzyzewski’s grandson Michael Savarino also played alongside the Boeheim boys.
“We’re really good friends,” Boeheim said. “And that’s separate from basketball. When we come here we want to win, they want to win. These memories are all in a different category. You’re not in a basketball class.”
He joked, as he often does, about the state’s restaurants. It wasn’t Waffle House this time; Burger King and Krzyzewski got the punch line.
But he also shared from the heart.
“We spent over 300 days together in the summer over a 10-year period,” Boeheim said. “This friendship, the basketball experience during this time was something special. We have a unique bond, can be together 300 days and never argue, two people who often get their way – except when they’re at home.”
He later added: “It was an incredible experience in my life. Just lucky to have them. Happy to train with a man who takes their advice and does what they think is good.”
However, on Saturday he said: “When we play like this there is not much to talk about. We played well. I still think we will finish strong.”
Krzyzewski, the 42nd year coach who is retiring after this season, thinks so too.
“I think Jim’s team can beat anyone,” he said. “Two reasons. One, him. Second, they have a style that you really have to prepare for.”
As always, the Blue Devils were ready for the famous zone defense.
Duke (15-3, 5-2 ACC) was also defensively dominant, holding Syracuse (9-10, 3-5 ACC) at 35 percent shooting, broken from 5-for-29 (17 percent) behind the 3 point -Arc . The first half was 2-for-16 from 3-point territory.
Four Duke players scored 15 points each — Paolo Banchero, Wendell Moore Jr., AJ Griffin and Mark Williams — and Joey Baker came off the bench for 11. Banchero’s 13 rebounds and Jeremy Roach’s nine assists led in a day when Trevor Keels was resting from injury.
Krzyzewski likes where the team is going, despite a disjointed regular season.
“We’re going to race our race, keep getting better and see what happens,” he said. “I’m all about winning, playing well and getting better. Our kids did that this week.”
Bladen Journal sports columnist Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or [email protected]