Photo Credit: Matt Gentry of the Roanoke Times via Virginia Tech Athletics
Virginia Tech put together their best half of the season in the opening 20 minutes and while they struggled some during the final 20 minutes, they did enough to keep control of the game throughout and close out their third victory against a current top 20 team.
#20 Virginia Tech beat #19 Duke 74-67 to improve to 10-2 on the season including 4-1 in ACC play while Duke fell to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in ACC play.
Tech's first half was quite impressive as they went 19-30 from the field leading by as much as 19 at one point on their way to a 46-34 halftime lead. Tech dominated in almost all aspects in the first half and while they cooled off in the second half, their defense did enough to keep control of this game with a few timely buckets and free throws helping to close the deal.
Much of the reason for victory for Tech was their success in the paint as the Hokies outscored Duke 36-26 in the paint. When Tech has been at their best, they've won the scoring battle in the paint and they did so once again this evening.
Tech also limited their mistakes and took advantage of Duke's with only 10 turnovers compared to 12 for Duke plus a 13-9 advantage in points off turnovers. That only tells part of the story on Tech's ball movement that was quite good overall with 16 assists on 28 made shots, helping the Hokies shoot 50% from the field while Duke had only 11 assists on 24 made shots, shooting 40% from the field overall.
Tyrece Radford stepped up in a big way for the Hokies with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block while shooting 7-12 from the field as the sophomore guard was dominant in just about every aspect. Radford also helped close the game with a great alluding of a Duke defender before finding a wide open Justyn Mutts for a dunk to make it a nine-point game with 62 seconds to go.
Keve Aluma had a slow first half, but stepped it up in the second half with a key run of buckets in the paint to shut down Duke's momentum and help the Hokies keep control of this game. Overall, Aluma had a strong night with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block on 7-15 shooting from the field plus 3-4 from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, Jalen Cone was an offensive spark plug once again with 14 points on 4-9 shooting including 3-5 from three-point range while Justyn Mutts had a quality game in his own right with 9 points and 5 rebounds on 4-5 shooting from the field.
Hunter Cattoor only had 5 points but 3 assists while running the show at the point for a decent amount of this game while Nahiem Alleyne had 7 points. David N'Guessan had 2 points and 3 rebounds in 10 minutes while Wabissa Bede also had 2 points and Darius Maddox had a 2-minute cameo missing his lone three-point attempt.
Duke was led by 22 points from Jeremy Roach while star big man Matthew Hurt had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. DJ Steward was the only other Duke player in double figures with 14 points while Jordan Goldwire had 6 assists, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, and 1 point.
We will have more as this story develops.