Virginia Tech led No. 10 Duke for nearly 25 of the 40 minutes of basketball played in Cassell Coliseum on Friday night. However, the Hokies couldn’t close it out, and the Blue Devils walked out 77-63 winners. Tech dropped to 6-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC with the defeat, while Duke improved to 9-1 and 1-0.
When Duke wing Wendell Moore hit a layup with 13:54 remaining in the game, the Blue Devils had led for just 36 seconds of the entire game. Moore’s shot made the score 47-46 Duke, and the visiting team coasted for the remainder of the game. The reversal came due to a tactical change by Mike Krzyzewski, who went with a smaller lineup that enabled his team to switch on screens. The Hokies were dominating by running cuts to the basket, and that defensive change took away Tech’s offense.
“We played an outstanding 18 minutes in the second half,” Krzyzewski said. “We played an outstanding 12 minutes in the first half to stay in the game. They wear you out with all of their movements.”
Duke allowed 64 points in the paint against a similar offensive strategy when they were upset by Stephen F. Austin. The Hokies scored 40 points in the paint, nearly all of which came before Duke’s defensive change.
“The best lineup for them was No. 41 [Jack White] at the five, which allowed them to switch some things,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “We didn’t handle that very well, but we will. We will. I think there are very few teams that will be able to do that with size and the personnel that Duke has.”
Virginia Tech led this game 41-38 at halftime, and led by as many as 12 points in the first half. They led as late as the 11:11 mark of the second half after a PJ Horne three-pointer that made the score 52-50 Hokies.
After Duke denied the ball in the paint, Tech couldn’t get much going offensively. They didn’t have a great shooting night, making just 5-of-20 (25%) shots from the outside. That, combined with a poor game from redshirt freshman wing Landers Nolley, doomed them to defeat at home.
Nolley scored four of Tech’s first seven points, and he played well in other phases of the game with eight rebounds and four assists. However, he had a whopping nine turnovers, most of which were his fault, and committed a flagrant foul by pushing a Duke player late in the game out of frustration. He finished with seven points.
“I thought they got under his chin,” Young said. “I don’t think he handled it well; nine turnovers for the game. He’s a good player and he’ll get better with that.”
Virginia Tech competed well on the glass, being outrebounded just 32-31 against a bigger team. However, their off night shooting from the outside, Nolley’s turnovers, and Duke’s defensive change in the second half were the key factors in their defeat.
With so much time to prepare for the Blue Devils, and with Duke playing a 9:30pm game at Michigan State on Tuesday night, the Hokies were at a tactical advantage. Mike Young had a week to prepare, while according to Coach K, Duke just ran a basic motion offense with none of their installed sets because they were only able to practice for just an hour on Thursday.
“[I] thought it played out pretty darn well,” Young said. “I’m disappointed in how we finished the thing.”
PJ Horne led Tech with 15 points. Wabissa Bede and Tyrece Radford added 12 points each.
The Hokies return to action on Wednesday when they host Chattanooga. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30pm, and the game can be seen online on The ACC Network Extra.
Game Notes from Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
- Virginia Tech falls to 6-3 after the loss to Duke and 1-1 in ACC play.
- The Blue Devils’ win over Tech breaks their three-game losing streak in as many years in Cassell Coliseum.
- Virginia Tech trails Duke in the all-time series now 48-11. Duke leads in the last five matchups against Tech 3-2.
- UP NEXT: The Hokies will go up against Chattanooga on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET at Cassell Coliseum.
- Virginia Tech used the starting lineup of Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, P.J. Horne, Landers Nolley II, and Nahiem Alleyne. This is the seventh straight game the Hokies have started these five out of the gate.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: The Hokies jumped out to a quick start going up 13-5 in the first five minutes behind key buckets from forward Landers Nolley and junior P.J. Horne. Tech found itself leading 20-8 halfway through the first, following a 3-pointer from Isaiah Wilkins. The Blue Devils weathered the storm and came back within one point. With nine seconds remaining in the half Horne hit another triple as Tech led entering the break 41-38.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: Horne and Bede both hit layups early in the second to hold the lead for Tech at 47-44. Duke claimed the lead halfway through the second, then Bede nailed a jumper to cut into the lead at 56-55. Duke would answer with a 7-0 run pushing the lead to 62-55. The Blue Devils would not look back and won the game 77-63.
- Horne recorded a team-high 15 points, which is his first time leading Tech in scoring this season.
- Tyrece Radford scored a career-high 12 points and shot 85 percent from the field, missing only one attempt.
- PJ Horne posted a season-high 15 points against Duke.
- Wabissa Bede scored a season-high 12 points and now has scored in double-figures in three out of his last four games.
- Nolley grabbed a career-high eight rebounds versus Duke. Nolley now has 21 boards over the last three games. However, he had a career-high nine turnovers.