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Press | Chron
| Durham | Roanoke
Duke went up to Blacksburg, where a fired-up crowd waited for a repeat of
last year's upset or this year's near-upset in Cameron, but it didn't happen, as
Duke controlled the game and beat a frustrated bunch of Hokies, 80-67.
Tech's frustration boiled over on more than one occasion: Jamon Gordon
got a technical after shoving Greg Paulus, and late in the game, Tech's Deron
Washington kicked Lee Melchionni in the face. After the game he and head
coach Seth Greenberg visited the Duke locker room and apologized.
Duke played at a very high level, as they so often do after a loss, and
pretty thoroughly dismantled Tech, holding the Hokies to 42.9%. Tech held
themselves to 45.5% from the line, where they gave up almost the entire margin
of victory (12 points).
Duke, basically, played like Duke. If communication was a problem in
the last game, it wasn't in this one. The Devils played in unison and with
a purpose, and while that purpose was not to frustrate the Hokies, frustration
was a key result, and that saw the Hokies, on occasion, lose their composure or
(And for what it's worth, it's going to be hard to blame this on the
officiating, since Duke got called for 17 fouls to Tech's 14).
Tech cut the margin to 14 with 7:18 to go, but unlike the game in Durham,
Duke nipped that comeback. J.J. Redick hit a pair of free throws. Chris
Tucker then actually cut it to 13, but Redick hit a two point shot, and next
trip down, Shelden Williams hit another basket to push it back to 15. That
was pretty much it.
Tech got it back down to 12 with 2:29 to go, but two huge offensive rebounds
by Lee Melchionni ended that. Melchionni got seven boards by the way, not
bad for a guy who was lightly regarded coming in.
At the 1:30 mark, Deron Washington and Lee Melchionni went down in a pile and
the officials ruled that Washington kicked Melchionni in the face as he got
up. Replays clearly showed he did.
Washington was ejected, and, as mentioned, Greenberg and Washington went to
Melchionni afterwards and apologized.
After the Marcus Vick incident, and the shameful behavior by Tech fans last
year who taunted Redick's family and behaved threateningly enough for an
assistant A.D. to call for security to intervene, and then Greenberg's request
(during the Virginia game) to fans to not throw stuff on the court which morphed
rather quickly into a plea for more vocal support, Tech is rapidly building a
reputation for bad sportsmanship. sportsmanship.
Duke moves to 18-1 and 6-0 in the ACC, and Tech falls to 10-9 and 0-6 in the
The Devils got a solid performance from J.J. Redick, who scored 24 and passed
David Thompson in the All-time ACC scoring list. We realize not everyone
was lucky enough to see Thompson play at State, but if Michael Jordan says he
was the best, then who can argue? Passing Thompson is an incredible
honor. Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought Redick would do
that well at Duke. We always thought he was going to be good, but as good
as he has become? No.
Shelden Williams, who was determined, he said, to make amends for the
Georgetown game, also scored 24 and had 15 rebounds as well.
Josh McRoberts reclaimed his starting spot and had a solid game, scoring
eight points, grabbing seven boards, blocking three shots, and playing solid
defense as well. And lots of little things, too: tipping the ball
out-of-bounds off of a Tech player to keep possession, breaking up an inside
pass, an absolutely gorgeous outlet pass. The kid showed some of his
considerable talents tonight, and really played well.
Greg Paulus continues to mature, playing a solid game despite four
turnovers. He made one pass right over the head of, and between the arms
of, a startled Tech player for a layup. It was brilliant.
And in some ways the best news of all is that DeMarcus Nelson saw playing
time. Duke can really use his athleticism and his now-solid outside
shooting. The kid has barely gotten to play this season, but when he has,
he has shown that he has melded his athleticism to very solid skills.
Let's hope he can play for the rest of the season.
The win - and the loss at Georgetown - came at good times. Duke now
heads into the meat of its conference schedule with a home game against a much
tougher than expected Virginia coming up, a road trip to Boston College, then
home for FSU and UNC before heading up to Maryland. If they continue to
play together as they did in this game, and if Nelson can stay healthy and work
back into the rotation, February could be a good month.