One day after Cameron Indoor Stadium celebrated its 74th birthday, the Duke men’s basketball team won their ACC home opener with a 79-57 victory over Georgia Tech. The win came after the Blue Devils dropped out of the top ten for the first time since 2007 (after their loss at Notre Dame).
Coach K went back to his old starting lineup with Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon over Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston. Thornton and Hairston were starting for their defense, but neither were really providing any of late (besides foul problems).
It was a struggle once again for the Blue Devils and their defense, especially in the first half. Duke only led 34-33 at halftime, as the Yellow Jackets had the advantage in the paint, 20-12. GT big man Daniel Miller was 4-for-4 from the field in the first half with seven rebounds, dominating Jabari Parker inside.
Duke also struggled with their offense, as they made just 9-of-25 shots. They were also out-rebounded 16-14.
Duke went on an early 7-0 run in the second half, which caused GT to call timeout. It also gave the Blue Devils some breathing room and they pulled away. They made 15-of-26 shots in the second half to raise their overall shooting percentage for the game to 47.1%. They also only committed one turnover in the second half (seven total). Duke ended up winning the rebounding battle, 33-25 (8-6 on the offensive end).
The Duke defense also was better in the second half, holding the Yellow Jackets to 11-for-25 shooting (they shot 53.6% in the first half).
For the second straight game, Parker looked like your average freshman. Coach K pulled him towards the end of the first half (he was just 2-for-9 from the field). He got a little better in the second half, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds.
Rodney Hood was once again THE MAN, as he finished with 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also hauled in six rebounds and dished out three assists.
Jefferson hauled in ten rebounds while scoring six points (2-of-3 shooting). Sulaimon scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He also hauled in five rebounds and dished out two assists. Quinn Cook scored nine of his 13 points in the second half. He also dished out five assists compared to one turnover.
The Blue Devils only got ten points from their bench and all of those points came from Andre Dawkins.
Overall, Duke made 22-of-25 free throws compared to the Yellow Jackets’ 0-for-6.
For GT, Miller finished with 14 points (7-of-11), eight rebounds, and two steals. Marcus Georges-Hunt scored a team-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting with four rebounds.
The Blue Devils look to start a winning streak when they travel to Clemson on Saturday afternoon (2pm ET).