Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

February 25, 2014

Blue Devils pull away from Hokies

DURHAM, N.C. — Rodney Hood scored 21 points to help No. 6 Duke beat Virginia Tech 66-48 on Tuesday night.

Rasheed Sulaimon added 15 points for the Blue Devils (23-6, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who jumped to a 24-4 lead midway through the first half and never trailed — though they struggled to land a game-finishing blow on the Hokies.

Duke didn’t shoot the ball particularly well and its outside shooting was streaky, but it still had relatively little trouble against a Virginia Tech team that has won just once since the start of the calendar year. The last-place Hokies (9-18, 2-13) had a strong start to the second half and got within seven points, but never seriously threatened what would have been an improbable comeback in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils finished the game shooting 39 percent, including 10 for 33 from 3-point range — well below their ACC-leading 40.7 percent.

The Blue Devils had completed a stretch of four games in eight days with Saturday’s home win against then-No. 1 Syracuse, which came about 48 hours after the weather-delayed rivalry loss at North Carolina.

Now Mike Krzyzewski’s team will finally get a week to regroup. Duke doesn’t play again until next Wednesday’s trip to Wake Forest, followed by the regular-season finale against UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 8.

Hood was 9 of 17 from the field to lead the Blue Devils, while Sulaimon knocked down four 3-pointers. Freshman Jabari Parker added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to go with three blocks.

Freshman Trevor Thompson matched his season-high with 15 points to lead Virginia Tech, which cut into Duke’s big early lead and then shot 48 percent after halftime to keep the Blue Devils from running away with it.

Still, Duke’s lead hovered around 10 to 12 points for most of the second half.

Duke ran out to a 15-2 lead on Sulaimon’s first 3-pointer, then pushed the early lead to 20 points when Sulaimon knocked down another 3 off a feed from Hood at the 9:50 mark.

Virginia Tech cut into the deficit when reserve C.J. Barksdale came in and hit shots on three straight possessions, including a 3-pointer, to finally give the Hokies some confidence. Then, after trailing 32-20 at halftime, Jarell Eddie drove by Hood for a basket that got the Hokies within 34-27 near the 18-minute mark.

But that was as close as Virginia Tech would get, with Sulaimon and Andre Dawkins knocking down 3s then reserve big man Marshall Plumlee slamming home a miss from Sulaimon to push the lead to 51-36.

The Hokies never got the lead below double figures again, and Quinn Cook’s 3 at the 1:53 mark finally pushed the margin back up to 20 for the first time since Duke’s early burst.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Hokies, who will host North Carolina on Saturday at Cassell Coliseum.

Tip-off is at 2:30 p.m.

*****

VIRGINIA TECH (9-18)

Van Zegeren 4-9 0-0 8, Eddie 3-12 2-2 9, Thompson 6-9 3-4 15, Wilson 3-12 1-1 7, Johnston 0-1 0-0 0, Raines 0-0 0-0 0, Beyer 0-0 0-0 0, Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Barksdale 4-4 0-0 9. Totals 20-47 6-7 48.

DUKE (23-6)

Hood 9-17 0-0 21, Jefferson 3-3 0-1 6, Parker 3-11 5-6 11, Thornton 1-5 0-0 3, Sulaimon 4-11 3-4 15, Cook 1-5 0-0 3, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Hairston 0-1 0-0 0, Ojeleye 0-0 0-0 0, Dawkins 1-5 0-0 3, Plumlee 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 24-62 8-11 66.

Halftime—Duke 32-20. 3-Point Goals—Virginia Tech 2-9 (Barksdale 1-1, Eddie 1-6, Wilson 0-2), Duke 10-33 (Sulaimon 4-9, Hood 3-7, Cook 1-4, Dawkins 1-4, Thornton 1-5, Jones 0-1, Parker 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia Tech 30 (Van Zegeren 8), Duke 36 (Parker 12). Assists—Virginia Tech 8 (Wilson 4), Duke 19 (Thornton 7). Total Fouls—Virginia Tech 11, Duke 11. A—9,314.

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