Duke underwhelmed in another ACC game—its second such frustrating performance against Virginia Tech this season—but still survived and advanced with a 60-56 win over the tenth-seeded Hokies. The defense looked much improved against a streaky Hokies offense, but this was a four-point nail-biter than should have been a double-digit cakewalk given that Virginia Tech couldn’t buy a basket.
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Duke will now advance to play the winner of tonight’s late game: Miami and Florida State.
Virginia Tech heads home, probably to go through Indiana drills.
Thornton shows improvement: It’s unlikely, but Tyler Thornton showed he can play point guard in some capacity against Virginia Tech.
This has been an odd year at point guard for the Blue Devils, with coach Mike Krzyzewski fluctuating between Thornton and freshman Quinn Cook. For a program that prides itself on such strong point guard play, it’s an oddity. Think of the names just recently: Jason Williams (or Jay, whatever), Chris Duhon, Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving. Tyler Thornton does not necessarily fit in that group. However, he certainly showed up in big situations against the Hokies.
He finished with 13 points (5-for-16 shooting), four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Much like Kendall Marshall, if Thornton is hitting shots it spreads the floor so much better for the Blue Devils. If not, teams are basically defending five-on-four. When on, he can fill up a box score.
Even the TV crew interviewed Thornton after the game. That’s what happens when you deliver your best game as a Blue Devil.
Somebody better be shooting in the gym: This Virginia Tech just couldn’t shoot. As well as the Hokies shot in a 70-65 overtime loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium—excluding Dorian Finney-Smith’s 2-for-11 night—the team was equally as poor putting up points Friday night. Duke’s defense remains better than its national ranking might suggest, but Virginia Tech missed multiple open looks and could not finish through contact at all.
The Hokies shot 30.2 percent from the floor. Yikes.
This Virginia Tech team loses Dorenzo Hudson, its second-leading scorer, the Hokies return plenty of perimeter talent in point guard Erick Green, Dorian Finney-Smith Cadarian Raines and Robert Brown. As for the points in the paint, get back to Seth Greenburg in October.
Licking their chops: This Florida State-Miami game has to take on bigger implications for the both teams, as either one has to feel Duke is ripe for the taking with forward Ryan Kelly holding his crutches on the sidelines. Both the Hurricanes and Seminoles took down the Blue Devils this season, and if either one is hitting its stride then the Blue Devils will find themselves on the other end of a close game on Saturday.
Duke will be favored, but I’m not sure it should. This team is not in a great place right now.