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Duke Shuts Down Tech, 73-58

Playing Georgia Tech is a little like going to the dentist. It's not a lot of fun. No different this year, as Duke had to play really hard to come up with a 71-58 win.Duke forced 20 turnovers and limited Georgia Tech to three assists, which suggests a lot of pressure on the ball and the passing lanes. They also held Tech to 37.7% from the floor.

Where Tech did manage to score was when they could force the ball in the lane, and their thick, athletic frontline held their own, particularly in the first half. Overall, Duke did a great job on defense, but when the ball got past the perimeter defenders, Tech was hard to stop down low. Nothing new here: Duke has worked hard all year to keep the ball out of the post, and when it gets there, it's a lot harder to stop opponents.

This was a disorganized team in some respects: Paul Hewitt twice had to summon someone back to take the ball out. And coughing the ball up 20 times doesn't make a good argument for organization.

Still, considering the tough season they're having, Tech fought and fought hard. They could really use a go-to guy offensively and a more consistent point guard. If Matt Causey had Maurice Miller's talent, or if he had Causey's desire and experience, Tech would have a sensational guard.

Things don't work that way, of course, and as it turned out, they had 10 turnovers between them.

Freshman Gani Lawal was best able to exploit Duke inside, going 5-6 from the floor for 10. Causey was the only other Tech player in double figures, also with 10.

Jeremis Smith and Anthony Morrow added seven and nine, and Miller had eight.

For Duke, it was probably the best overall defensive effort of the years. Duke got into the passing lanes in a big way, and had a breakout game (defensively) from Gerald Henderson, who disrupted Tech's offense on three straight plays. If he can keep that up, it adds a great new dimension to Duke's defense.

And in a companion piece of news to Brian Zoubek's tremendous game against St. John's, Dave McClure, who is a really smart, tough-minded performer, had probably his best game of the year. He's not playing that much since he is still getting over his knee injury, but if he - and Zoubek - can come around in time for the tournament, it's great news for Duke.

Tech played solid defense too, although Duke held on to the ball better than Tech did, with only nine turnovers. They harassed Duke into 35.3% in the first half, although Duke hit for 54.5% in the second and finished at 42.9% for the game.

Kyle Singler and Greg Paulus were both held to 3-11, and Jon Scheyer was held to 3-8. DeMarcus Nelson hit for 5-7, and Gerald Henderson shot 6-10.

Duke didn't shoot well from three point land either, hitting 2-15, as Tech really worked hard on switches to keep Duke's bombers under control.

For the second game in a row, an unusual play at the end of the first half: Greg Paulus got the ball with time running down and turned to get ready to launch a long shot. He ran into Tech's Matt Causey and decked him. Everyone left the court except for Causey, who stayed on the floor. He tried to get up three separate times before he managed it. The Atlanta paper reports he had a grade two concussion. It was remarkable that he played in the second half at all.

The best news for Duke was that they came out against a team which is big enough and talented enough to be intimidating, despite their record.

Duke heads to Raleigh next for a rematch with N.C. State. The Devils enter the game with a chance to win Coach K's 800th game.