NEW YORK -Greg Paulus had a career-high 20 points and combined with Josh McRoberts on three big plays in the second half to help No. 6 Duke beat No. 22 Gonzaga 61-54 on Thursday night in the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The two sophomores came up big for the Blue Devils (11-1) on the offensive end in a defensive game that saw plenty of missed shots and almost as many bodies on the floor.
On the defensive end, the star for Duke was freshman guard Jon Scheyer, who had the main assignment on Gonzaga senior Derek Raivio, who finished with a season-low four points, 16 below his season average.
Duke bounced back from an awful first half that ended with the Bulldogs (9-4) leading 21-20. The Blue Devils 22.6 percent (7-for-31), while Gonzaga made 35.7 percent (10-for-28).
Things changed quickly at the start of the second half for Duke as the Blue Devils hit six of their first seven shots and took a 34-30 lead and Gonzaga was never in front again as Duke won its seventh straight.
Scheyer finished with 14 points, while McRoberts had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Jeremy Pargo had 21 points, 17 in the second half, for the Bulldogs, who have lost three of four.
Pargo scored on a terrific spin move to get Gonzaga to 41-38 with 8:27 left. That's when McRoberts and Paulus got together for the first of their key plays.
Paulus was taking the ball out of bounds under the Gonzaga basket and he found McRoberts among four defenders with a bounce pass for a dunk that restored the lead to five.
Josh Heytvelt made two free throws with 6:59 left to get the Bulldogs to 45-40 when McRoberts threw a touch pass to Paulus for a 3 that made it an eight-point lead.
The third play came in the final minute after Matt Bouldin had scored to get Gonzaga within four at 54-50. McRoberts' fifth assist of the game a bounce pass to a cutting Paulus who laid it to make it 56-50 with 52 seconds to go.
Raivio, who had scored at least 19 points in his last nine games, finished 1-for-4 from the field. He tried running Scheyer into screen after screen, but he couldn't shake the freshman, forcing Pargo to step up as the Bulldogs' offensive threat.
Pargo was 8-for-13 from the field and had nine rebounds and four assists.
Still, the Bulldogs lost consecutive games for the first time since December 2002, when they lost to Stanford and Saint Joseph's.
Gonzaga was looking for its second win over a top Atlantic Coast Conference team in Madison Square Garden as it beat No. 2 North Carolina 82-74 in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The loss drops the Bulldogs of the West Coast Conference to 8-2 all-time against ACC teams.