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Blue Devils Handle Hokies In Cameron

In the second half, Duke crushed Virginia Tech behind an outstanding game from Grayson Allen.

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Virginia Tech v Duke
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 14: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils battles Chris Clarke #15 of the Virginia Tech Hokies for a loose ball during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 14, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 74-52.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Duke used an old-fashioned barrage of 3-pointers and a new-fashioned dose of zone defense to defeat Virginia Tech 74-52 Wednesday night, leading the final 34 minutes and breaking it wide open after intermission.

The win moves Duke to 21-5, 9-4 in the ACC, making Duke “bowl eligible,” in the words of Mike Krzyzewski, making the logical assumption that nine conference wins should be enough to go dancing.

With Clemson’s loss to Florida State, the Blue Devils and Tigers go into Sunday afternoon’s game tied for second place in the ACC.

The Hokies drop to 18-8, 7-6 in the league.

Marvin Bagley III sat out his second straight game. Marques Bolden started in his place, with Javin DeLaurier getting the honors in the second half.

Trevon Duval regained his starting spot and played 33 minutes.

First, the defense.

Tech coach Buzz Williams joked that he expected Duke to play between 58 and 66 percent of the time on zone but Duke did him one better, playing zone the entire game.

“We figured we’d play the whole game at zone,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “We will play a lot more zone. That will be our primary defense. We’re finding out. We’re learning about our team.”

Duke prioritized stopping Tech point guard Justin Robinson, the national player of the week after scoring 52 points in wins last week over NC State and Virginia.

“At the top of the zone, we had to stop Justin Robinson,” Grayson Allen said, “because he’s been so good getting into the lane and setting up other guys. The guys down low, find a guy. Don’t guard air. Make it work. And Wendell and Javin contested shots at the rim.”

Robinson helped Duke by getting into some foul trouble. But he also scored five points in 27 minutes.

The teams traded baskets early, Tech’s biggest lead at 10-7 and last lead at 10-9.

Tech only has one rotation player taller than 6-6, so even with Bagley out, they concentrated on stopping Duke’s inside game.

Pick your poison.

“They’re a good defensive team,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “They take away the middle, they take away the lane. So we told Grayson and Gary [Trent, Jr.] to just shoot. The shots are going to be there.”

Allen hit a 3-pointer to start the game and Trent gave Duke a 12-10 lead with another. Duval broke a 12-12 tie with a 3, Trent hit one for 20-16, Allen for 23-18 and 26-21, Trent for 29-23, Allen for 36-28, to end the first-half scoring.

“I wasn’t think about anything,” Allen said. “Just looking at the bottom of the net.”

Duke was 8-18 from beyond the arc in the opening half, Allen 4-7, Trent 3-6.

Justin Bibbs was 3-3 on 3s but his teammates were 1-6. Duke one foul and 21-9 edge on boards. But eight turnovers against two forced nullified some of the rebounding advantage.

DeLaurier said Duke was tired of coming out flat early in the second half and made certain it wouldn’t happen tonight.

“We came into the locker room and were pretty determined not to let it happen this time. We wanted to come out and keep the pressure on them.”

Allen agreed. “It was important for us to keep extending the lead. It was the first full 40 [minutes] we’ve played all year.”

DeLaurier was a key to the breakaway. He said his ailing hamstring is ailing no more, saying it was the best he’s felt “in a long time.”

Krzyzewski and Allen both praised his contributions, the latter citing DeLaurier’s “reckless abandon, attacking everything, tipping loose balls, keeping possessions alive.”

DeLaurier had all seven of his points after intermission, adding four rebounds and a steal.

Duke got its first double-digit lead at 46-36, five minutes into the second half and added 3-pointers by Allen and Wendell Carter, Jr. to make it 52-39.

The lead hit 20 at 66-46—another Allen bomb-- and 25 at 71-46, on a Carter layup, ending a 29-10 period of dominance, spanning about 10 minutes of game time.

Duke held the Hokies to their season-low in points—they also scored 52 in an early-season loss to Virginia—by keeping them off the line, forcing second-half turnovers and allowing virtually nothing on Tech’s offensive boards. Duke committed six fouls, sending Tech to the line for four freebies.

Duke was a modest 7-10 from the line, as neither team reached the bonus in either half.

Duke also forced eight second-half turnovers, an area of concentration, according to Allen.

“We adjusted some in the second half. Tre and I were trying to get hands on the ball and disrupt their offense.”

Perhaps most importantly, Duke out-rebounded Tech 36-19, allowing three offensive rebounds and outscoring the visitors 18-2 on second-chance points.

“Put a body on someone, whether it was a guard or a big man,” Carter summed up. “It was gang rebounds.”

Allen led everyone with 25 points, his highest total since he also scored 25 against South Dakota back on December 2. Allen hit 7-of-15 from beyond the arc.

He also had a game-high six assists.

Krzyzewski said he likes the look with Allen running the point and Duval on the wing because it gives Duke chances for wing penetration, which has been largely lacking this season.

Trent was 5-of-9 on 3s and scored 19. Carter had 13 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, although the last seems a bit under-counted to me.

Duval added 10 points.

Justin Bibbs was the only Hokie in double figures, with 15 points.


Krzyzewski offered no prediction on Bagley’s return, saying Bagley was getting better but Duke was being cautious.

Duke has a rematch with Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, on February 26, the third time this season Duke has met the same ACC opponent twice in less than two weeks. Pittsburgh and Wake Forest were the first two.

Allen now has 1,814 career points, 256 three-pointers and 380 assists.

Carter’s double-double was his 13th. Bagley has 18.

Trent on Duke’s win: ‘It was great, so we just have to keep rolling with it’


Player of the game vs. Virginia Tech

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Grayson Allen
    (336 votes)
  • 1%
    Wendell Carter
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Marques Bolden
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Gary Trent
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Trevon Duval
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack White
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Antonio Vrankovic
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Mike Buckmire
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Justin Robinson
    (2 votes)
375 votes total Vote Now

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