Duke basketball finally put pieces together in much-needed victory

Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball put the pieces together in its victory over Georgia Tech. 

It’s been rather the same issues hurting the Duke basketball team in its three-game losing streak, but the Blue Devils seemed to make the necessary corrections against Georgia Tech.

In losses to Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Louisville, it’s been some formula of digging a big first-half hole, having Matthew Hurt or Jalen Johnson erase the deficit, one of the players getting into foul trouble, Duke not getting them the ball in crunch time, and then Hurt or Johnson fouling out in the final two minutes.

That pretty much sums it up, right?

Well, Duke did none of that against the Yellow Jackets, and it resulted in a victory. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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The Blue Devils also saw their senior point guard, Jordan Goldwire, come up with the big defensive stop of Georgia Tech star Jose Alvarado in the closing seconds, another issue that has plagued Duke this season.

By no means did Mike Krzyzewski’s team play a perfect game, but there were several areas of improvement, most notably at the free throw line and on the backboards.

Duke was 18-of-22 from the charity stripe compared to Georgia Tech’s 4-of-5 clip, and the Blue Devils out-rebounded the Yellow Jackets, 43-28.

Duke basketball still with work to do ahead of stretch run

Despite the victory, there are still several aspects of the game where Duke must improve, most notably in its help defense.

The Blue Devils nearly switched every ball-screen until the final minutes, when Goldwire was attached to the hip of Alvarado after he had posted 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

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A combination of zone defense and undersized forwards did not help the Duke cause in the paint as Moses Wright went for 12 points and 14 rebounds, although the Blue Devils dominated the glass in the overall totals.

No other Yellow Jacket grabbed more than four rebounds.

Duke might be turning a corner in this strange season, so we have another edition of ‘Stock Up, Stock Down’…