The now third-ranked Duke Blue Devils get their first shot at redemption on Thursday, as they play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in ACC action at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils won their first 15 games on the 2012-13 season and ascended the polls to the number one spot as a result. Last weekend Duke felt the sting of its first setback, falling to 2-1 in league play with an 84-76 loss at NC State.
A young team in Atlanta, Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets have had their ups and downs. The team is a solid 10-5 on the year, but things in conference play haven't started according to plan. Georgia Tech has lost three straight games, all in-conference, including a heart-breaking 70-65 overtime loss at home to Virginia Tech last weekend.
Duke holds a 65-23 edge in the all-time series, including wins in the last four meetings and 28 of the last 31 matchups overall. Duke has also won five straight against Georgia Tech in Durham.
Georgia Tech is not a flashy offensive team by any stretch, instead leaning on strong defensive play to remain in games. The Yellow Jackets are yielding just 57.1 ppg this season, holding foes well under 40 percent shooting (.371). Freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt leads the team in scoring at 10.9 ppg. Another youngster, freshman Robert Carter Jr. is a close second at 10.1 ppg. Senior guard Mfon Udofia rounds out the top scoring threats at 10.0 ppg.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but in the end, Tech faltered in the extra session and fell for the third straight time. The Yellow Jackets committed just nine turnovers in the game, but Virginia Tech owned a 43-32 edge in rebounding and outscored Tech 19-13 at the free-throw line. Four Yellow Jackets reached double figures in the loss, led by Carter's 12 points. Georges-Hunt and Udofia added 11 points apiece, while Chris Bolden added 10 points off the bench.
Despite suffering its first loss of the season, Duke has had little to no trouble generating offense. The team comes into this game averaging 79.1 ppg, shooting .478 from the floor overall, including .418 from behind the arc. The long range shooting took a bit of a hit recently with a foot injury suffered by Ryan Kelly (13.4 ppg), but there is the necessary depth to compensate. First and foremost, Duke enjoys getting the ball down low to 6-10 senior Mason Plumlee, who averages a double-double with team-highs of 17.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Perimeter balance comes in the form of guards Seth Curry (16.4 ppg), Quinn Cook (11.8 ppg) and Rasheed Sulaimon (10.8 ppg).
Four Blue Devils finished in double figures last weekend, but it wasn't enough to topple the explosive Wolfpack in Raleigh. Curry led the charge with 22 points. Cook finished with 17 points and seven assists. Plumlee recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 boards, while youngster Amile Jefferson chipped in with 10 points off the bench.