Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 4, 2013

Hokies face yet another big test at Duke

Staff report
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The schedule for the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team in the last two weeks has been brutal. Tonight is no exception.

The Hokies (13-16, 4-12 ACC) will be in Durham, N.C., playing the third-ranked Duke Blue Devils (25-4, 12-4) — Virginia Tech’s third game against a top-10 opponent in 12 days.

Duke defeated the Hokies in Blacksburg 88-56 on Feb. 21 and No. 5 Miami claimed a 76-58 win from the Maroon and Orange last Wednesday.

Virginia Tech rebounded with a 69-61 home victory over Clemson on Saturday, recording its highest field goal percentage of the season — 54.8 percent.

Erick Green, the nation’s top scorer with 25 points per game, tossed in 29 points against Clemson on Senior Night in Cassell Coliseum. He tied a career high with five three-point field goals and was 8 for 12 overall from the floor and 8 for 10 at the foul line.

Green has scored 20 or more points in 26 of the 29 games this season.

C.J. Barksdale grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and scored 14 points for Virginia Tech. He has reached double-figure scoring in his last four games.

Duke’s Ryan Kelly returned to the lineup Saturday after 13 games off with a right foot injury and dropped 36 points in a 79-76 Duke win over No. 5 Miami. He was 10 of 14 from the field and 9 of 12 from the free throw line, adding seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week on Monday.

Duke is averaging 78.5 points per contest and is allowing 65.5, while Virginia Tech is scoring an average of 70.7 and allowing 73.7. The Blue Devils average 6.7 steals and 14.9 assists per game.

In this year’s previous contest with the Hokies, Seth Curry scored 22 points and Rasheed Sulaimon had 17 in Blacksburg. The 32-point victory was Duke’s largest against an ACC opponent since March 2010.

Mason Plumlee leads the Blue Devils in scoring average with 17.1 points per game and his 59 percent field-goal rate is second in the ACC and seventh in the NCAA. He pulls down 10.3 rebounds per outing, also second-best in the ACC.

Playing in their final home game of the season, the Duke team is ranked in the top 10 for the 111th consecutive week.

Duke leads the all-time series 41-8 and has won 16 of 17 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium against the Hokies. A Duke victory would give the Blue Devils their 17th undefeated season at Cameron.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.