Hokies Battle, but Fall at Duke

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Durham, NC – Virginia Tech played #6 Duke tough on Sunday night, but couldn’t overcome a bad shooting night and lost 67-55. The Hokies dropped to 21-5 overall and 8-4 in the ACC with the loss. Duke is now 23-4 overall, with an 11-2 mark in conference play.

Tech played a very tough game, leading in the second half at the 9:55 mark, and the game was tied with 8:42 to play. However, the Hokies shot just 32.8% from the field and were outrebounded 47-38 by the taller Blue Devils. Duke center Brian Zoubek had 16 rebounds, including eight offensive boards.

The Hokies got a bad shooting night from both Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson. Delaney scored 19 points, but was only 5-of-19 from the field and 2-of-9 from three-point range. Hudson was 3-of-12 from the field and 0-of-4 from the outside, scoring 12 points. They combined to go 13-of-14 from the free throw line, but they couldn’t hit enough jumpers for their team to pull off the upset.

Jeff Allen played hard, and played well. However, he only played 19 minutes. Allen picked up his second foul at the 12:56 mark of the first half, and he did not play again until the second half, spending the rest of the game in foul trouble. He finished with eight points, three rebounds and three blocks.

His backup, J.T. Thompson, was also in foul trouble for part of the game. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.

Both teams missed plenty of open jumpers, and both teams played good defense. Duke shot just 29% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range. However, they knocked down a total of 10 three-pointers, while Tech connected on just two outside jumpers.

Three-point shooting was the big difference in the game, along with offensive rebounding. The Blue Devils had better three-point shooters, and more of them. They also had 23 offensive rebounds, and outscored the Hokies 27-9 on second chance points. The 7-0 Zoubek was a matchup problem for a shorter Tech frontline that got in foul trouble early in the game.

Virginia Tech played well from the opening tip. They scored the first basket of the game when Victor Davila followed up a Malcolm Delaney missed with a huge dunk. The Hokies jumped out to a 6-3 lead, and Duke only had 10 points in the first six minutes of the game.

Unfortunately, Duke’s first two shots were a sign of things to come. They were both three-pointers. The first was a shot by Kyle Singler, and it came off a long rebound by Jon Scheyer. Singler first missed an outside shot, Scheyer grabbed the long offensive rebound and kicked it back out to Singler, who was then able to drill his second attempt.

The Hokies led for much of the first half, but a scoring drought enabled Duke to get back into the game and eventually take a double digit lead. Nolan Smith’s free throw put the Blue Devils up 35-24 with 2:23 remaining in the half, and Tech looked like they were in serious trouble.

However, Dorenzo Hudson ran off six straight points to end the half, four of which came from the free throw line. His jumper with 31 seconds remaining made it a 35-30 game heading into the halftime intermission.

Virginia Tech continued to get back into the game early in the second half. They finally tied the game on a fastbreak layup by freshman forward Cadarian Raines with 12:14 remaining, and a three-pointer by Malcolm Delaney at the 9:55 mark gave the Hokies a 45-44 lead. However, that was Tech’s one and only lead of the second half.

Duke eventually went on an 13-2 run over a four minute span to take control of the game. Terrell Bell hit a shot in the lane to tie the game at 47 with 8:42 left, but the Hokies only managed two points over the next four minutes. By that time, Duke was up 60-49.

Tech didn’t quit, and went on a mini-run of their own. A jumper by Jeff Allen cut the Duke lead to 61-55 with 1:28 left, but the Blue Devils answered with a big three-pointer by Nolan Smith to make the score 64-55 with 54 seconds left. They went on to with 67-55. The Hokies trailed by six points and had a chance if Smith had missed that shot, but he got it done in a clutch situation to help his team remain undefeated at home.

The Hokies return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to Boston College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

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