Wednesday , Feb , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Top-ranked Duke holds off Georgia Tech

=== Top-ranked Duke holds off Georgia Tech ===

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – J.J. Redick couldn’t become the Atlantic Coast
Conference’s leading scorer on this night, but the All-America guard did shake
off a miserable first half to help top-ranked Duke rally for a 73-66 victory
over Georgia Tech at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Redick scored 18 of his 22 points after halftime and the Blue Devils (26-1,
14-0 ACC) charged back from an 11-point deficit early in the period to
register their ninth consecutive victory and clinch the ACC’s regular-season
title.

The Player of the Year candidate went an uncharacteristic 5-of-21 from the
field, but was aided by a monster game from Shelden Williams, who racked up 26
points and 11 rebounds.

Redick now needs just nine points to eclipse Wake Forest’s Dickie Hemric’s 51-
year-old conference record of 2,587. Duke will next play at Temple this
Saturday.

Jeremis Smith paced Georgia Tech (10-15, 3-11), which has dropped 11 of 12,
with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ra’Sean Dickey added 14 points while Zam
Fredrick had 13 along with nine assists in the loss.

The Yellow Jackets made a sizzling 71 percent of their field goal attempts
during the opening 20 minutes and held a 39-34 halftime lead that grew to
double-digits soon after. Smith ended an 8-2 burst to start the second half
with a layup that staked Georgia Tech to a 47-36 advantage.

However, the Jackets failed to score for over a five-minute stretch, and Duke
embarked on a mammoth 26-6 run thereafter to forge ahead.

Williams netted the game’s next 11 points and Redick gave the Blue Devils
their first lead since the opening stages with two free throws which made the
score 49-47 with 13:31 to go.

Georgia Tech regrouped and reeled off six straight points, but Duke countered
with another 13-0 spurt to take over.

Redick’s only three-pointer of the night put Duke up 60-53 with 8:16 to go,
and he made two more foul shots less than a minute later to extend the margin
to nine.

The Yellow Jackets made one final charge and closed within 62-58 on a Mario
West jumper with 5:25 left. However, Georgia Tech again went cold and Duke
scored the next seven points to put the game away.

Georgia Tech took control early with a 10-0 run, fueled by eight points
from Dickey, and maintained a lead over the remainder of the first half.

A three-pointer by Lewis Clinch followed by two free throws by Smith, put the
Yellow Jackets up 17-10 eight minutes in. The margin later grew to eight
points after Smith scored inside with 4:22 left in the half to give the hosts
a 31-23 advantage.

Duke finally got untracked after that. The Blue Devils put together a 9-2 run
to get back into it, but it was DeMarcus Nelson — not Redick — who led the
charge.

Nelson scored seven points during the burst and capped it with a three-pointer
that pulled Duke within 35-34 with 1:38 remaining before intermission.
Fredrick answered with back-to-back baskets to send Georgia Tech into the
locker room with a five-point cushion.

Redick had just four points on 2-of-11 shooting for the half.

Game Notes

Duke had a string of 11 straight games with 80 or more points end…Redick had
scored 30 or more points in each of his last five games…Georgia Tech shot
just 36 percent in the second half…Duke has won 20 of the last 21 meetings
with the Yellow Jackets and has won in each of its last 10 trips to Alexander
Coliseum.

DUKE GATECH