DURHAM -The Duke Blue Devils outscored the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 46-29 in the second half to take home a 73-57 win in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday evening. The win comes on the heels of Duke’s first loss of the season last Saturday to N.C. State, and pushes the Blue Devils’ season record to 16-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC.
Tonight’s game was not always pretty. All-American hopeful Mason Plumlee struggled with his shooting in the first half, going 2 of 12, but he hit 5 of 8 in the second half to finish with 16 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. That double-double keeps Plumlee atop the ACC in that category with 11 on the season. At one second half timeout, Coach Mike Krzyzewski met him at halfcourt with a huge hug after Plumlee’s play had finally turned the tide in the Blue Devils’ favor.
But it was the play of Seth Curry that put the Blue Devils over the top. The senior finished with a game-high 24 points, knocking down a career-high 6 of 7 three-point shots (the six were all in a row after missing his first), including one shotclock-beating three pointer from deep NBA range. Curry continues to battle through his shin injury. In his post-game press conference, Coach Krzyzewski stated that Curry would practice just one time before next week’s Miami game, due to the lingering pain from the shin.
Duke was also aided by the play of two freshmen tonight. Rasheed Sulaimon broke out of his offensive slump to score 15 points, and he also added 5 rebounds from the guard spot. Amile Jefferson pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds and scored 6 points, including a critical basket just before the first half ended to cut the Tech lead to one point.
After shooting just 27% in the first half, Duke righted the ship and finished he game at 40% from the field. They outscored the Yellow Jackets in the paint by a 32-24 margin. Duke also benefited greatly from 28 points off Yellow Jacket turnovers, and they outscored their opponent 12-4 on fast break points.
Coach Krzysewski said Kelly was week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day. Without him, the Blue Devils are a work in progress, almost like a new team. It is clear that they are once again finding their team chemistry and that they are trying combinations to make up for the loss of a senior leader who not only stuffed the stat sheet with measurables, but also brought intangibles, such as an understanding of spacing, to the table.
But the schedule does not wait. Next up: Duke will take on league leader Miami next Wednesday night in Coral Gables. Check out tonight’s videos from Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry below.