Duke basketball continues downward spiral in second straight loss

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team continued its downward spiral with a second consecutive loss. 

The 2020-21 college basketball season continues to be the year of broken streaks as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (14-8, 10-6 ACC) defeated the Duke basketball team for the first time since 2010.

Duke (11-10, 9-8 ACC) had won 14 straight games against Georgia Tech before Tuesday night’s 81-77 overtime loss.

The defeat was the second straight game the Blue Devils have dropped to an NCAA Tournament bubble team, putting their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

An at-large bid for Duke might no longer be in the equation after its most recent loss, but the Blue Devils did not go down without a fight.

Trailing 64-56 entering the final media timeout of the second half, Duke looked dead in the water. But applying a fullcourt press threw Georgia Tech out of sync, and the Blue Devils were able to capitalize, tying the game up at 64 thanks to three free throws from Joey Baker.

Neither team scored in the final 1:43 of regulation as the Yellow Jackets missed four shots compared to Duke’s two.

However, freshman Jaemyn Brakefield had a good look from the corner as time expired that would have won the game and added a much-needed victory to Duke’s resume.

Duke led after the first possession of overtime on a dunk by Mark Williams, but Georgia Tech quickly erased that, and the Blue Devils would not come closer than three points.

Leading by seven with 28 seconds to play, the Yellow Jackets nearly collapsed as DJ Steward hit a three-pointer after a turnover, and the freshman guard missed a game-tying three-point attempt with three seconds to play.

Graduate transfer Patrick Tape secured the rebound and was fouled, making the first free throw and was in a similar situation point guard Tre Jones was against North Carolina a season ago but could not hit the rim on his second attempt.

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Wendell Moore and Mark Williams led the Blue Devils with 20 points each as Moore was 9-of-19 from the field while adding eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals with just one turnover.

Williams was a perfect 9-for-9 from the floor with seven rebounds but struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 2-of-7. And he could not keep up with Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright, who went for 29 points and 14 rebounds.

Matthew Hurt was again sensational when he was on the floor, but the sophomore forward was once again plagued with foul trouble.

Hurt ended the night playing just 29 minutes with 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists on 5-of-8 shooting.

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Matthew Hurt picked up his fourth and fifth fouls on the offensive end of the floor, neither of which were charges, and both were perceived as questionable calls.

Duke’s backcourt struggled once again as the trio of Jordan Goldwire, DJ Steward, and Jeremy Roach combined for 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting and eight turnovers.

Joey Baker and Jaemyn Brakefield combined for eight points on 1-of-13 shooting.

Duke returns to the court for its regular-season finale against the North Carolina Tar Heels (15-9, 9-6 ACC) on Saturday evening (6:00pm EST, ESPN).

The Tar Heels are also coming off a loss and looking for a sweep of the Blue Devils, hoping to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

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