Blacksburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils hit the road on Wednesday for an ACC clash with the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are still mathematically in the hunt for the ACC crown, as they sit in second-place in the standings at 11-3, two games behind league-leading Virginia, with four to play. Duke enters this contest with plenty of momentum, having won seven straight games, including Saturday's 78-56 rout of Clemson.
Buzz Williams' first season in Blacksburg hasn't really gone according to plan. The Hokies are seven games under .500 on the year and an even worse 10 games under .500 in league play, residing just outside of the conference cellar at a dismal 2-12. Virginia Tech comes in with a three-game losing streak in tow, including a 69-53 setback at NC State on Saturday.
Duke has dominated this series which dates back to 1912. The Blue Devils have won seven straight meetings and are now 43-8 all-time against the Hokies, including a 5-2 mark at Cassell Coliseum.
For the 13th time this season, Duke shot 50 percent or better from the floor, as the .517 effort on Saturday was more than enough to cruise past the Tigers. Star freshman Jahlil Okafor missed the game with an ankle injury, but the Blue Devils didn't miss a beat, as both senior Quinn Cook and freshman Justise Winslow picked up the slack. Cook was 11-of-18 from the floor and posted a career-high 27 points. Meanwhile, Winslow recorded a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones just missed a double- double of his own with 11 points and nine assists, while yet another youngster, freshman guard Grayson Allen chipped in with 10 points in the win.
Not many teams could continue to play at such a high level with one of its premier players on the bench, but Duke's talented depth separates it from most teams. The Blue Devils are averaging 80.6 ppg, on .498 shooting this season. The 6-11 Okafor is a big part of that with 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, but it is much more than a one-man show in Durham. Cook is an explosive perimeter scorer at 15.5 ppg and has a team-high 74 3-pointers to his credit. Winslow (11.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Jones (11.7 ppg, 5.6 apg) are difference- makers in the frontcourt and backcourt, respectively.
The Hokies have a talented freshman in their own right leading the charge and young guard Justin Bibbs was at it again in the team's recent loss to NC State. Bibbs, who has been in and out of the starting lineup for Tech of late, came off the bench to tally a game-high 19 points against the Wolfpack. Junior guard Adam Smith added 15 points for the Hokies, who were outscored 19-2 at the free-throw line.
Smith has scored in double figures in nine straight games, upping his season average to a team-best 13.6 ppg. He is Virginia Tech's top sniper, shooting an impressive .433 from behind the arc and leading the Hokies with 68 3-pointers. Bibbs is a highly efficient long-range threat as well. He is averaging 12.6 ppg and is shooting .442 from behind the arc (38-of-86). Freshman Ahmed Hill is the best scoring option after Smith and Bibbs at 8.2 ppg.