DURHAM, N.C. — Seth Curry scored 12 of his season-high 31 points during the late run that helped No. 1 Duke pull away for a 90-77 victory over pesky Santa Clara on Saturday.
Mason Plumlee added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (12-0), who needed a huge run late to overcome both a big game from Kevin Foster and a real scare from the Broncos (11-3).
Foster scored 18 of his 29 points in the first half for upset-minded Santa Clara, and his soaring baseline dunk put the Broncos up 45-41 with 16:30 left.
But the Broncos managed just one field goal over the next 8 1/2 minutes, and that gave Duke just enough of an opening to break this one open.
Curry hit two 3-pointers and followed with three layups during the 26-5 run that gave the Blue Devils a bit of breathing room. Quinn Cook's steal and layup capped the burst and made it 67-50 with 8:30 to play.
Curry, who was 12 of 18 from the field with four 3s, finished with his best scoring day as Blue Devil but came up short of the 35 he scored against VMI while a freshman at Liberty in 2008-09.
Ryan Kelly had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Cook finished with 15 points for Duke. Playing for the first time in nine days – and just the fifth time in December – it wasn't anywhere near its best for much of this one.
The Blue Devils missed 10 of their first 18 free throws, had six shots blocked and were regularly outworked by the Broncos. But they were good enough when it counted to make it to 12-0 for the 10th time under coach Mike Krzyzewski and win their 101st straight nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Evan Roquemore added 17 points while Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III had 10 apiece for Santa Clara, which was playing the No. 1 team for just the second time since 1981 and fell to 0-12 all-time against top-ranked opponents with its first loss in regulation this season.
Yet the Broncos gave Duke fits for about 24 minutes before going cold at the most inopportune time.
Foster, the nation's top 3-point shooter in 2010-11, had 18 of his team's first 30 points to single-handedly keep them in this one early.
He scored 12 points during the 16-4 spurt that wiped out an 11-point deficit, and his run-capping 3 over Tyler Thornton with just under 5 minutes left in the half put Santa Clara up 30-29.
That came after the Blue Devils' 17-4 run seemed to have put them in control. After Plumlee capped it with a dunk on an alley-oop pass from Cook with just under 9 minutes left, Duke managed just one field goal in the next 7 minutes, and that let Santa Clara back in it.