Hokies fade late in 85-57 loss at No. 3 Duke Print
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Tuesday, 05 March 2013 17:39
NCAAB Headline News


 DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Erick Green and Virginia Tech were in prime position to ruin the final home game for three Duke seniors.
And then the Hokies had to play the final 12 minutes.
The third-ranked Blue Devils used a late surge to turn a tight game into another rout, beating Virginia Tech 85-57 on Tuesday night.
``We were right there, but we didn't put a 40-minute game together,'' Green said. ``We played 30 minutes, and then they just blew us out.''
Green scored 25 points on 10 of 19 shooting and Jarell Eddie added 13 for Virginia Tech (13-17, 4-13 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Hokies closed to 53-47 with 12 1/2 minutes left on Eddie's jumper.
Duke outscored Tech 32-10 the rest of the way, scoring on 15 of its final 16 possessions while the Hokies missed nine of their final 13 shots. The Blue Devils also were plus-12 on the boards in the second half of their second rout of the Hokies in 13 days.
``We just weren't able to make the plays down the stretch that we needed to make,'' Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said.
Seth Curry scored 20 points with five 3-pointers, and Ryan Kelly added 18 points with team bests of nine rebounds and five assists in his second straight strong performance since coming back from an injury.
Mason Plumlee finished with 14 points for Duke (26-4, 13-4), which shot nearly 52 percent yet struggled for a while in a classic trap-game scenario.
``We're emotionally spent,'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ``We're not as physically spent as we are emotionally. It's been a heck of a thing. ... I'm proud of our guys. I thought the three seniors just asserted themselves in the second half.''
``That's a point of emphasis for us, period,'' Kelly said. ``Rebounding's obviously something that, in the past, hasn't been our biggest strength. And if you can take your lesser strengths and make them bigger strengths, you can be a really good team.''
The Blue Devils improved to 17-0 this season with Kelly - a 6-foot-11 floor-stretching threat who missed nearly two months with a right foot injury. He scored 36 points last time out in his first game back, a 79-76 victory over then-No. 5 Miami three nights earlier.
``Kelly gives them a whole other level,'' Eddie said. ``They're really able to spread the floor. It's tough to guard all those guys.''
Quinn Cook also had 14 points while Curry - the son of former Virginia Tech and NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry - hit a handful of 3s against his dad's alma mater for the second time in 13 days.
``We were there, coming behind those screens, and he was shooting behind them, just making tough plays,'' Johnson said.
There were traps aplenty in this one for the Blue Devils, who had a tough time generating the same high level of emotional energy that they had against the Hurricanes.
Couple that with rival North Carolina looming ahead this weekend, and it might have been easy for Duke to look past a last-place Virginia Tech team that the Blue Devils had beaten by 32 in Blacksburg yet quietly entered having won two of three.
``We definitely had to be (wary), and I think we were,'' Kelly said. ``We knew we had to be prepared.''
Cameron was energized for the Senior Night festivities - but not much else - during a first half surprisingly led for much of the way by the Hokies.
Duke outscored Virginia Tech 26-11 during a 9-minute stretch to turn a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead, but led just 38-35 at the end of a sluggish opening 20 minutes. Duke pushed its lead to 12 slightly over 4 minutes into the second half on a Curry 3 before Green briefly brought the Hokies right back.
``You have a different type of emotion coming into the game - you want to play well really badly,'' Curry said. ``You don't want to be nostalgic and think about it being your last game, but you can't help it. I think that's why we got off to a slow start.''
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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at (at)JoedyAP.
 

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