Veterans make clutch plays as Duke basketball snaps losing streak

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

75. 434. Final. 68. 436

Duke basketball snapped a three-game losing streak against Georgia Tech. 

After three long games and 17 grueling days, the Duke basketball program finally has won a game again.

It wasn’t pretty, nor was it textbook, but the Blue Devils defeated Georgia Tech behind clutch plays from their veterans, 75-68.

All three previous losses came because Duke failed to get the ball to its best players, Matthew Hurt and Jalen Johnson, down the stretch.

Johnson and Hurt took every shot within the final four minutes for the Blue Devils, aside from two free throws by Jordan Goldwire and DJ Steward.

However, the defense by Goldwire on Georgia Tech star Jose Alvarado clinched the game as the senior guard was able to poke the basketball away from the Yellow Jackets senior when Duke led 69-68 with 1:30 to play.

The Norcross, Georgia native then hit his two free throws to push the lead to three.

Goldwire wasn’t done making his mark on the final minute of the game as the 6-foot-2 guard grabbed an offensive rebound with 14 seconds to play off a Matthew Hurt missed free throw that ended any glimmer of hope Georgia Tech had left.

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Jordan Goldwire ended his night with 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals off the bench in 35 minutes.

Duke was 3-of-3 from the floor in the final four minutes with two ‘and-one’ baskets from Johnson and a tough fadeaway jumper from Hurt.

The Blue Devils also made 8-of-10 free throws in the final four minutes of their victory.

Jalen Johnson only logged 24 minutes because of first-half foul trouble but finished with 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks on 7-of-11 shooting while Hurt posted 17 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-11 from the field.

Freshman guard DJ Steward led the Blue Devils with 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 from three-point range.

Duke basketball still has brutal schedule looming

A home victory over Georgia Tech might not move the needle to a potential NCAA Tournament bid, but it’s a lot better than a loss to the Yellow Jackets as the Blue Devils were on the outside looking in at the Big Dance, according to many experts.

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More tough games are on the horizon for Duke, starting with a weekend date at home with the Clemson Tigers on Saturday and a short turnaround with a trip to Miami (FL) on Monday night.

Tipoff between the Blue Devils and Tigers is at 12:00pm EST (ESPN).

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