The same issues were present for the Duke basketball team against Virginia Tech.
Comeback attempts are fun, but the margin for error is so small, and the Duke basketball program just isn’t good enough to overcome its mistakes.
The No. 19 Blue Devils (5-3, 3-1 ACC) once again dug themselves into a double-digit hole against No. 20 Virginia Tech (10-2, 4-1 ACC) on Tuesday night, one that they could not dig themselves out of.
Duke did not show any corrections or improvements in starting the game from what it did against Boston College or Wake Forest, its last two victories.
Unfortunately for Mike Krzyzewski, Virginia Tech is a much better basketball team than the Eagles or Demon Deacons and was able to compose itself when the Blue Devils came storming.
Duke never held the lead in its 74-67 loss, but it did trail by 18 points in the first half.
The Blue Devils were able to cut the deficit to 12 points by halftime and began the second half with a flurry, thanks to sophomore Matthew Hurt.
Hurt willed Duke within one point of the Hokies, but the Blue Devils didn’t have enough firepower outside the Minnesota native and freshman Jeremy Roach to get over the hump.
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The duo combined for 42 points as the only other player who reached double-figures was DJ Steward, 14 points, but he was ice cold from the perimeter in the second half.
Freshman forward Jalen Johnson made his return to the floor after suffering a foot injury in mid-December but only played four minutes, totaling two points.
Jaemyn Brakefield started for the first time in his college career and only mustered four points while senior Jordan Goldwire had one of his worst offensive performances of the season, not netting a single point while missing all five of his shot attempts.
Wendell Moore‘s 27-point barrage against Boston College seems to just be an outlier as the sophomore struggled again with a four-point showing on 2-of-6 shooting.
Duke basketball has time to correct mistakes
Despite a putrid showing in the first half, the Blue Devils showed signs of turning a corner in the second half and probably would have completed the comeback if someone other than Hurt or Roach could make a shot.
Perhaps Jalen Johnson is the answer to some of Duke’s problems as he will be able to work on his conditioning in the seven-day layoff the Blue Devils will have.
Next up is the second game of the three-game road trip and a date with the Pittsburgh Panthers (6-2, 2-1 ACC) on Tuesday, January 19 at 9:00pm EST (ESPN).