Duke made enough plays to edge Georgia Tech 72-66 Wednesday night.
Start here & help DBR
It wasn't the blow-out many people expected when a 10-11 Tech team visited the fourth-ranked team in the nation.
But the Yellow Jackets have been the ACC's hard-luck poster-boys. They've lost eight times by five points or less or in overtime. They took Notre Dame into two overtimes before falling and beat Miami by 20, at Miami.
And truth be told, Georgia Tech did some things we haven't seen before. They came into the game last in the ACC in 3-point shooting, at 25.7 percent but knocked down 8 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Mike Krzyzewski said the game was "what I thought it would be, a very, very difficult game. " But he suggested that his team may not have shared that view.
"We did not expect that level of performance or toughness. Some of that has to do with the week we just had. . . . I did not think that we were emotionally at the level we needed to be. I think it showed primarily in our backcourt. As good as Tyus and Quinn have played, the first half was not a good half."
Duke scored first-on an Amile Jefferson jump hook- but Tech scored the next seven points, serving notice that they were nobody's patsy.
It was 9-6 when Krzyzewski went to his bench. Reserve Matt Jones tied the game at 9 with a 3-pointer, at 11 with a tip-in and at 13 with a lay-up.
Jones said after the game that his job description starts with bringing some energy. "We needed a spark. Fortunately, I was able to help the team in that way. I'm finding my spots and using my instincts better."
Tech took its last lead at 16-13 on a Marcus Georges-Hunt 3-pointer. Duke ran off eight straight points after that and seemed ready to break it open on several occasions, getting its biggest lead at 33-23, with 5:15 left in the half.
It was 38-30 with under a minute left and Duke poised for one of those two-for-one late-half daggers. Instead Georgia Tech turned two Tyus Jones turnovers into two lay-ups, the final one right at the buzzer.
Krzyzewski was not happy with the turn of events that left it 38-34 at the half. " We ended the half so poorly, as poor as we've ended a half in a long time."
The Yellow Jackets got the ball first in the second half and cut the lead to 38-37 on a Chris Bolden 3-pointer. This would be the first of four times that Tech would cut the Duke lead to one point in the second half.
But they were never able to get over the hump. Quinn Cook was a large part of that. Cook went scoreless in the opening half. But he got on the board with a lay-up to make it 45-41, hit his only 3-pointer to make it 49-43 and hit another lay-up for 51-44.
Cook made only one of eight 3-pointers but compensated by aggressively getting the ball inside off the dribble. "I was taking what the defense gave me," Cook said. " People fly out to me, guys jamming me, so I can get to the basket."
Duke played mostly man-to-man but Krzyzewski said his team forgot the primary tenet of any Duke defense. " We didn't talk well on defense, whether we were in zone or man. Not coordinated. Late in the game we talked better, switched better and got a couple of steals."
The biggest stop may have been a steal and dunk by Justise Winslow that made it 63-56, with 6:10 left. Duke never led by less than four after that, with Cook knocking down four foul shots in the final minute to sew it up.
Krzyzewski said Duke was able to "muck it out" but also called it an "a hard-earned win. They knocked us back but didn't knock us out."
He cited the much improved second-halves of Cook and Ty Jones. "For them to respond in the second half . . . that's something some of our teams have not been able to do, to make the adjustments emotionally during the game."
Cook led everybody with 17 points, all in the second half. He added four assists, with no turnovers. Krzyzewski called Cook's second-half performance "spectacular. A neat message to send to his teammates"
Krzyzewski also praised Jahlil Okafor, who scored 14 points, with eight rebounds, while being pounded all night by Tech's 275-pound senior Demarco Cox. Winslow had his second straight double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyus Jones led everyone with five assists.
Matt Jones scored all 11 of his points in the first half. He was the only Duke reserve to score.
In case you missed it, the win was Krzyzewski's 423rd in ACC competition, breaking a tie at the top with Dean Smith.
Tech entered the game third in the ACC in rebounding differential, with Duke fourth. But Duke won the battle of the boards 40-33.
Cook's only 3-pointer extended his streak to 32 games with at least one made 3-pointer.
Duke is now 34-5 against Georgia Tech at Cameron, 69-23 overall. Duke has won the last eight against Tech.
- Duke basketball survives upset bid from Georgia Tech
- FSU blows first-half lead, loses to Clemson
- Duke beats Georgia Tech, but shows vulnerability with inconsistency
- Mike Krzyzewski passes Dean Smith for most ACC wins
- No. 5 Duke shakes off Georgia Tech
- Cook, No. 4 Duke Edge Georgia Tech 72-66
- Box Score: Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66
- Photos: Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66
- Notes: Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66
- Quotes: Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66
- Duke escapes Yellow Jackets
- No. 4 Duke handles pesky Georgia Tech 72-66
- Gallery: Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66 | 02.04.15
- Backcourt Has Wake Back in Winning Column
- Celebration almost on hold