It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but a win in conference is a win in conference. The Blue Devils handed Georgia Tech its fifth straight loss with a 71-58 victory in Cameron Wednesday night. The win keeps Duke tied with North Carolina for the lead in the ACC.
Let’s get right to it.
- Turnovers had been killing Duke in their two loses, but tonight they handed it over only eight times. You’re always going to get the win if you keep your turnovers below double digits.
- Gerald Henderson looked good for the second straight game. Maybe it’s all in the brace. he shot 6-10 from the floor, mostly on dunks, but a couple of mid-range jumpers.
- Where were the 3′s? A rough night from behind the strip. Duke shot 2-15 from the three-point line, its worst outing this season. They pull this off against a good team, they’re not going to be so lucky.
- Lance Thomas state line (reminder, we want more points and rebounds than fouls): 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 fouls. Not bad, but not great. In our preview I talked about wanting to see Lance become more aggressive on the offensive end. He only took two shots, and only one was an offensive move type shot. The other was a put-back.
- Coach K put a tight lease on the bench again tonight, and I’m not quite sure why. All five starters, plus Scheyer played 22+ minutes (four played at least 30). Singler alone only sat for two minutes. Smith and McClure each played eight minutes while Zoubek and King only saw five and two minute on the court, all in the first half. This was a bit disappointing, especially after Zoubek’s solid game against St. Johns. King continued to struggle, going 0-2 from the floor, one miss from three. Right now, his confidence is shot. Someway the Duke coaching staff will need to find a way to get it back.
Like I said, these kind of numbers worry me. Duke’s biggest problem over the years has been their lack of players on the pine. This is why Duke always looks tired come tournament time and they eventually get run out the building (early each year). This team is supposed to be different, featuring a decent 10-man rotation. Now is not the time to start having our starters averaging 30+ per game.
- Good game overall for Matt Causey of Georgia Tech. I’ll be honest, prior to this game, I’d had never really heard of him. However, did you see what his eyes were doing after he banged his head just before halftime? Seriously, your face doesn’t do that if all the parts are working correctly upstairs. I’m not a doctor, but he shouldn’t have been allowed back in that game.
- Duke won this game by playing great D (14 steals), shutting down Morrow, and getting to the free throw line. Duke finished 21-30 while Tech only managed 7-11 (all in the last nine minutes of the game).
- One issue I had tonight with the announcing was Len Elmore and his problem with the free throw differential. All night he kept pointing out that Tech, for whatever reason, was struggling to get to the free throw line during their current losing streak. In six of the last seven Yellow Jacket’s loses, their opponents have averaged over 16 more free throws per game (13, 16, 6, 32, 15, 19). Despite this, Len started to question the ‘fairness’ of the free throw discretion. Is it the refs job to assure that both teams shoot the same amount of free throws for the game? No, it’s their job to make sure the calls are made correctly.
If Len was pointing out that the refs were missing calls, or reffing a bad game, then that’s an argument to make, but outside of disagreeing with a couple calls throughout the game, that wasn’t the issue. He simply thought it wasn’t right that Tech wasn’t getting to the line…despite the fact they have a long history this season of not getting to the line, while putting their opponents onto the free throw line.
SAD, BUT TRUE MOMENT: The Blue Devil mascot pulled a Bill Gramatica.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gerald Henderson…6-10 from the floor, 15 points, 5 rebounds and a few solid dunks
PROPS GO TO: Gani Lawal…he score 10 (as did Causey), but Lawal did it in six shots, while Causey needed eleven. In fact, Lawal was the only Tech player to shoot about 50%.