Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Virginia Tech put together another strong first half claiming a halftime lead but eventually, the Hokies' offense fell apart with No. 10 Duke finding their rhythm on the Blue Devils' way to a comfortable victory.
Virginia Tech came up short against No. 10 Duke 77-63 to fall to 6-3 on the season and 1-1 in ACC play while Duke improved to 9-1 overall and 1-0 in ACC play.
After only 4 first half turnovers, the Hokies' offense became turnover prone with 10 second half turnovers, 6 of which came from Landers Nolley. The Hokies did well early attacking the paint at one point holding a 22-8 advantage, but finished with only a 40-36 advantage. Tech's three-point shooting was also off as the Hokies were 5-20 from deep, but were efficient inside the arc as they shot 48.2% from the field overall.
P.J. Horne led the Hokies with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 6-13 shooting from the field including 3-8 from three-point range. Tyrece Radford was extremely efficient with 12 points and 7 rebounds on 6-7 shooting while Wabissa Bede had a strong game with 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and only 2 turnovers on 6-10 shooting. Landers Nolley struggled being held scoreless in the second half on his way to finishing with 7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 9 turnovers.
After a slow opening minute for both teams, Virginia Tech surged to a 11-3 lead thanks to a 9-0 run launched by a three from P.J. Horne with the Hokies leading 15-8 at the first media timeout with 13:45 left in the first half. Tech came out of the MTO fast with a quick 5-0 run followed by a 5-0 run for Duke making it a 20-13 Tech lead.
From there, the Hokies and Blue Devils went back and forth with Tech leading 26-17 before Duke went on a 6-0 run to cut it to a 26-23 Tech lead. Tech and Duke traded buckets for a few minutes with Tech leading 30-25 when Duke called a timeout with 4:52 to go in the first half. Tech and Duke kept trading buckets with the Blue Devils cutting the lead to 35-34 at one point before Tech took a 41-38 lead into halftime after a Tre Jones bucket just before time expired.
The Hokies were able to get lots of shots inside 10 feet and took advantage with a 26-18 points in the paint advantage and a 4-2 offensive rebounding advantage. Tech was efficient from the field shooting 52.9% from the field, but only 4-13 (30.8%) from three-point range while Duke was 45.5% from the field including 6-17 (35.3%) from three-point range.
P.J. Horne led the way for the Hokies in the first half with 10 points an 3 rebounds while Tyrece Radford had 8 points and 6 rebounds on an efficient 4-5 shooting from the field. Landers Nolley was also efficient with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, but 3 of Tech's 4 turnovers while Wabissa Bede had 6 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds.
Vernon Carey Jr. led the way for Duke with 10 points and 5 rebounds after a slow to start. Matthew Hurt had 8 points, while Tre Jones had only 5 points and 2 assists, and Duke's third-leading scorer Cassius Stanley was held scoreless.
Tech started the second half fast with a pair of buckets to extend the lead to 45-38, drawing a Duke timeout with 18:56 to go. Duke came out of the timeout well with a 6-0 run to cut the Tech lead to 45-44 before trading buckets to give Tech a 47-46 lead at the media timeout with 13:57 to go. Duke claimed their first lead since the early minutes of the game out of the media timeout with a quick bucket before extending their lead to 50-47.
Tech turned it around quickly with a 5-0 run to reclaim the lead with Duke taking the lead back via a 6-1 swing to make it a 56-53 Duke lead. Tech was able to cut it to 1, but Duke went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 62-55 with Tech calling timeout with 7:10 to go. After a Tech bucket soon after the timeout, Duke opened their lead back up with a 11-0 run to take a 73-57 lead. Tech and Duke went back and forth the rest of the way on the Blue Devils' way to a 77-63 victory over the Hokies.