Duke travels to Atlanta for first true road test
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – The 11th-ranked Duke Blue Devils play their
first true road game of the season, as they travel to Atlanta to battle
the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in ACC action from Alexander Memorial
Mike Krzyzewski’s team opened up ACC play this past weekend with a rare
loss, dropping a 69-67 overtime decision to Virginia Tech in Durham. It
snapped a 10-game conference-opening winning streak. The loss was just the
second for the Blue Devils this season and halted a nine-game win streak
overall. Duke has not lost two straight ACC games to open a campaign
since the 1995-96 season.
Georgia Tech will attempt to saddle the Blue Devils with that very skein,
as they seek their first league win of the year. The Yellow Jackets were at
Clemson over the weekend and almost handed the Tigers their first loss
of the year, falling on the road by a score of 75-74. The setback brought an
end to a five-game win streak and left Tech at 11-4 overall.
Duke has won 20 of the last 21 meetings with Georgia Tech, with the lone
victory for the Yellow Jackets coming last March 3rd (76-68), snapping
Duke’s 41-game homecourt winning streak.
DeMarcus Nelson put up 22 points, but it wasn’t enough, as Duke dropped its
conference-opener at home to the Hokies in overtime. Nelson hit 8-of-13 shots
from the floor, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Josh McRoberts added
a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but committed six turnovers in
the game. Also finishing in double digits were Jon Scheyer and Gerald
Henderson, who chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Blue Devils went
just 1-of-7 from the floor in the extra session and committed a whopping 22
turnovers in the game. The Blue Devils lack the offensive punch they have been
accustomed to over the last decade or so. Instead, the team has concentrated
its efforts at the defensive end of the floor. Opponents are managing just
54.5 ppg this year, while being held under 40 percent shooting from the floor
(.380) and way under 30 percent from long range (.248). Nelson leads the way
offensively, with 15.0 ppg. He is followed by McRoberts (12.8 ppg), who leads
the team on the boards (8.1 rpg) and in blocked shots (40). Scheyer gives the
team a third offensive threat at 10.7 ppg.
The Yellow Jackets boast of three freshmen in the starting rotation, so to say
this team is young is a bit of an understatement. Still, despite the youth,
Tech has been able to post superior offensive numbers, averaging 84.4 ppg, on
over 50 percent shooting (.509). The team lost a big piece of that offensive
punch with the suspension of Lewis Clinch (13.2 ppg) who has been dismissed
from the team. In his absence, freshmen Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton
will need to assume more of the offensive burden. Young has been outstanding
thus far, converting 50.3 percent from the floor en route to a team-high 14.3
ppg. Crittenton is one of the better young point guards in the country and has
shown the ability to both score (13.9 ppg) and distribute (6.0 apg).
Crittenton is shooting .439 from behind the arc this year and ranks second in
the conference in assists and fifth in steals. The Yellow Jackets shot a
sterling .592 from the floor against Clemson last time out, but were still
edged out by the Tigers in a one-point loss. Crittenton led the charge with 22
points and six assists. Young added 15 points to the cause, while Ra’Sean
Dickey chipped in 12.