Duke's shooting cooled as the game wore on while its defense had trouble consistently slowing down visiting Gardner-Webb's hot shooting.
Then again, coach Mike Krzyzewski said, it was an OK performance for a team coming off such a long break.
Freshman Jabari Parker scored 21 points to help No. 8 Duke beat visiting Gardner-Webb (6-6), 85-66, Monday night in its first game in nearly two weeks.
Andre Dawkins added a season-high 18 points for the Blue Devils (8-2), who hadn't played since beating Michigan Dec. 3 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
That break, which included final exams, came after a tough stretch of four games in 10 days that included a loss to top-ranked Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship and a one-point home win against Vermont.
"You don't stop playing for two weeks and not have some slippage," Krzyzewski said. "But overall I was pleased with our team."
▪ Georgia Tech 74, Kennesaw State 57: Robert Carter Jr. recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 15 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech (8-3), to the victory against visiting Kennesaw State (3-8).
Top 25 women
▪ Syracuse 82, Temple 76: Brittney Sykes scored 11 of her 20 points in the second half as host No. 23 Syracuse (9-1) pulled away from Temple (5-3).
▪ North Carolina 124, New Orleans 41: Allisha Gray and Diamond DeShields scored 20 apiece, as No. 14 North Carolina (9-2) crushed New Orleans (0-9) in Myrtle Beach, S.C.