No. 6 Duke 67, Virginia Tech 55

The “Big Three” kept things clicking for No. 6 Duke. They had

to, because they got virtually no scoring help from their

teammates.

Kyle Singler had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Nolan Smith added

23 points to help the Blue Devils pull away in a 67-55 victory over

Virginia Tech on Sunday night.

Jon Scheyer had 15 points for Duke (23-4, 11-2 Atlantic Coast

Conference), which got only four points from the other six players

who saw the court and flirted with their worst shooting performance

of the season.

Still, they came up with a late 14-4 run to overcome their only

deficit of the second half and earn their sixth straight victory.

Duke strengthened its grip on first place in the league standings

and keep itself on track for another high seed in the NCAA

tournament.

To coach Mike Krzyzewski, nothing else matters.

“I’d like to have other people score – that’s an obvious thing

– but what I want to do is win, and not let (a lack of) scoring

impact in a negative way … our defense and rebounding,”

Krzyzewski said. “One of these games, we’re just going to break

out. … Those three players are really good. As long as they keep

playing well, you’ve got to go with what you’ve got, right?”

Malcolm Delaney, the ACC’s leading scorer, finished with 19

points for Virginia Tech (21-5, 8-4), which fell to 1-17 at Cameron

Indoor Stadium. His 3-pointer capped a 13-5 run and put the Hokies

up 45-44 with 9:55 left.

Smith followed with a three-point play roughly 30 seconds later

and scored seven points during the decisive burst that followed.

Scheyer finished the spurt with a 3 that made it 60-49 with 4:15 to

play. Tech didn’t get closer than six after that.

“Our kids competed at a high level, but that’s not what we came

here for,” Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. “We’re at the stage

of our program now where being competitive is not good enough. It’s

about winning, and playing to win.”

Outside of the Singler-Smith-Scheyer trio, the only other Duke

players to score were Miles Plumlee, who hit a free throw with

13:29 left in the first half, and 7-foot-1 Brian Zoubek, who

converted a critical three-point play with 7:12 to play.

“Nothing really needs to change. Guys are going to get shots,”

Singler said. “But it’s just kind of how it happened

tonight.”

Zoubek finished with 16 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who ran

their winning streak at Cameron to 17. They’re 15-0 here this

season, with 14 wins coming by double figures and 11 by at least 20

points.

This one featured the ACC’s top two scorers, with Delaney

averaging roughly 20 points and Scheyer scoring 19 per game. But

both players had trouble hitting with consistency in a physical

game marked by rough defense.

In what Krzyzewski called “an overall decent performance

against Delaney,” the Tech guard shot just 5 of 19 and missed nine

of his first 10 attempts for the Hokies, who were 2 for 15 from

3-point range.

Scheyer was 4 for 19 for the Blue Devils, who shot 29 percent.

Had Smith and Singler not swished 3s in the final minute, they

would have finished worse than their 28-percent outing three months

ago against Connecticut.

“Our offense, at times, hasn’t been good this year, and the one

thing we do know is that we’re not an unbelievable offensive team

where we’re just going to put 90 points up,” Scheyer said. “We

know we need to do it with our defense. That’s OK if, at times, our

offense isn’t going well because we rely on our defense.”

Dorenzo Hudson added 12 points for the Hokies, who had their

five-game ACC winning streak snapped, a run that was their longest

since joining the league. They were trying to beat North Carolina

and Duke in the same season for the first time since 2007 – also

the last time they reached the NCAA tournament.

“We knew it was going to be a battle,” Hudson said. “We just

didn’t make the shots we needed to.”

Both teams entered this one with more than 20 wins, but they got

there in vastly different ways. One online replication of the RPI

formula determined that the Blue Devils played the nation’s

third-toughest schedule while Tech’s was at No. 152.

The way the Hokies kept attacking Duke, that didn’t seem to

matter.

The Blue Devils’ offense came almost exclusively from Scheyer,

Singler and Smith, who combined for all but one of the team’s 35

first-half points, with each cracking double figures by

halftime.

“Honestly, we’ve showed this year that we can shoot bad. It’s

going to happen,” Smith said. “Most years, we might lose those

games. We might let that affect our defense or rebounding. But now,

we’re not letting that happen.”