Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off yet another marquee victory, the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils begin a two-game homestand, starting with Wednesday night's ACC showdown with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils were the first and only team thus far to hand the Virginia Cavaliers a loss, as Duke went into John Paul Jones Arena last weekend and topped the previously unbeaten Cavs, 69-63. The victory was the fourth in the last five games for Duke and improved the team to 18-3 overall and 5-3 in conference play.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets experienced a modicum of success during their non-conference slate, but the wheels have fallen off Georgia Tech's cart in league play, as the team is a mere 1-8 in the ACC following Saturday's heart- wrenching 81-80 overtime loss to NC State.
Duke holds a 68-23 edge in the all-time series with Georgia Tech and has won seven straight meetings and 31 of the last 34 overall.
NC State's Trevor Lacey buried a dagger in the hearts of the Yellow Jackets as he drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to propel the Wolfpack past Georgia Tech last time out. The loss spoiled a terrific performance by Marcus Georges-Hunt, who netted 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the game. Charles Mitchell (18 pts, 11 rebs) and Demarco Cox (12 pts, 10 rebs) both posted double-doubles, while Travis Jorgenson checked in with 14 points in the bitter setback.
The balanced scoring effort for Georgia Tech against NC State has not been the norm over the course of the season. The Yellow Jackets are netting a modest 64.6 ppg on a pedestrian .413 shooting, with just two players currently averaging double digits in the scoring column. Georges-Hunt leads the way with 14.0 ppg. The 6-8 Mitchell is second at 10.0 ppg and tops the team in the rebounding department (7.3 rpg). Cox mans the middle with his 8.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per outing.
It didn't look good for Duke in the second half against a strong Virginia squad, but the Blue Devils hit some timely shots and went on a 16-5 run to close out the game and earn a hard-fought six-point victory. Guards Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook hit big 3-pointers in the waning moments and finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Justise Winslow recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while fellow freshman Jahlil Okafor just missed one of his own, tacking on 10 points and grabbing nine boards in the win. Duke was able to shoot an unheard of 50.9 percent from the floor against the usually stingy Cavaliers and scored 44 points in the paint.
Duke's interior dominance is fueled by the play of Okafor in the middle. The 6-11 freshman has certainly lived up to the hype he came to Durham with and currently leads the ACC in field-goal percentage (.664 - second nationally), while ranking second in scoring (18.3 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.4 rpg). Cook and Jones are perfect perimeter complements. The veteran amongst a slew of youngsters, Cook is shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc and putting up 14.4 ppg. Jones can fill up the basket as well with 11.2 ppg and is also a deft distributor (4.9 apg). Winslow continues the team's youth movement with 10.9 ppg. Duke is second in the ACC in scoring (80.6 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.497), trailing only Notre Dame in both categories.