Jahlil Okafor scored 14 second-half points, Amile Jefferson added 19 and No. 4 Duke dominated No. 6 Louisville inside for a 63-52 victory on Saturday.
Staggered by Tuesday's 16-point loss to Miami that ended their 41-game home winning streak, the Blue Devils (15-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) rebounded to throttle the Cardinals on their home floor and end a two-game slide. The 6-foot-11 freshman Okafor and 6-9 Jefferson played a big role in outscoring Louisville 32-24 in the paint while denying the inside defensively.
Louisville (15-3, 3-2) shot just 18 of 61 from the field (30 percent) and failed again led to beat one of the ACC's traditional powerhouses. The Cardinals lost at North Carolina last Saturday.
Okafor finished with 18 points and seven rebounds as the Blue Devils finally put coach Mike Krzyzewski within two wins of 1,000. Jefferson also had seven rebounds.
Terry Rozier's 17 points led Louisville, which trailed by 21 in the second half before getting within 10 points, at 58-48 with 1:29 remaining. The Blue Devils were firmly in control at that point and won the matchup between Hall of Fame coaches Krzyzewski and Rick Pitino.
Most important for Duke was avoiding its first three-game league losing streak since the 2006-07 season.
Both teams shot poorly at the start, but Duke eventually took advantage of Louisville's misfires to close the half on a 15-6 run for a 30-20 halftime lead. The Blue Devils' zone defense succeeded in forcing the Cardinals into burning a lot of clock before taking long-range shots that missed despite good looks.
Duke's offense meanwhile took charge inside, outscoring Louisville 16-6 in the first half. Jefferson's 10 points helped offset a relatively quiet half by Okafor.
The ACC's leading scorer soon asserted himself, scoring eight of Duke's first 16 points to turn the game into a rout and quiet a sellout crowd hoping the Cardinals would earn a signature ACC win.