No. 6 Duke beats Alabama 74-64



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NEW YORK (AP) - Jabari Parker matched his season-high with 27 points, setting the Duke record for consecutive 20-point games to start a career and the sixth-ranked Blue Devils beat Alabama 74-64 on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Parker, one of the heralded freshmen in college basketball this season, was 9 of 12 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line in matching his point total in the Blue Devils' only loss, 83-54 to No. 2 Kansas and breaking the 20-point mark for the seventh time.

The Blue Devils (6-1), who committed a season-high 19 turnovers will face No. 4 Arizona, which beat Drexel 66-62, in the championship game on Friday at Madison Square Garden. It's a matchup of the program with the most NIT Season Tip-Off titles _ Duke with four _ against one of three programs tied for second with three.

Duke is 25-2 in the NIT Season Tip-Off and has won 14 straight games in the tournament.

The Blue Devils were coming off a 91-90 home victory over Vermont, a game that ended with the Catamounts having the ball but not getting off a final shot.

It didn't get that close at the end Wednesday, but the Crimson Tide (3-2) took advantage of the turnovers to be within 56-51 with 5:19 left. Alabama was within six points three times in the final 3:18 but the Blue Devils were able to go up by as many as 10 points.

The only other Duke player to start his career with six straight 20-point games was Art Heyman in 1961-62.

Duke closed the firsts half on an 11-2 run to take a 33-22 lead and the Blue Devils opened the second half on a 13-6 run for their biggest lead of the game, 46-28 with 15:23 to play.

The Crimson Tide, taking advantage of Duke's turnovers, used a 12-0 run to get within 46-40 with 12:07 left.

The Blue Devils are 23-7 at Madison Square Garden under coach Mike Krzyzewski and they have won 15 of their last 17 games there. Duke has won 27 straight regular-season tournament games.

The loss dropped Alabama to 32-99 against Top Ten teams. The Crimson Tide's last win over a Top Ten team was Feb. 18, 2006 against then-No. 8 Tennessee.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Jim O'Connell

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