Something to Prove

A year after a late-season collapse sent Duke to rare first-round exits from both the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament, the Blue Devils are out to prove the same thing won't happen again.

A convincing non-conference win its last time out was a start, but No. 7 Duke will look to end a two-game losing streak in ACC play and regain a share of first place in the league when it hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Duke –15 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Duke -15 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Duke hadn't lost two in a row since its stunning four-game slide to end last season, but the Blue Devils (23-3, 10-2) dropped consecutive contests at Wake Forest and Miami last week, allowing a season-high in points to the Hurricanes in a 96-95 loss last Wednesday.

A similar formula swiftly ended Duke's 2006-07 season, as its last four opponents averaged 83.8 points and shot 51.1 percent from the field. Miami shot 57.4 percent last week.

But this time, Duke had a chance to bounce back, which it did by surpassing last season's win total with an 86-56 victory over St. John's at home on Saturday. Still, Duke is looking to avoid losing three straight in ACC play after winning its first 10 league games, and the Blue Devils trail North Carolina by a half-game in the standings.

"We weren't ready to jump off a bridge with two losses," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We've had to fight for everything this year - it's not like we've been blowing teams out in the league. We just have to stay on our course and sometimes that course means you're going to get beat. What you do after you get beat and how do you get better are questions that we have to answer."

Duke looked better on Saturday, holding the Red Storm to 33.3 percent shooting and jumping out to a 22-point lead before halftime. Six players hit a 3-pointer against St. John's as Duke remained unbeaten at home (14-0) this season.

Freshman Kyle Singler led the Blue Devils with 16 points, while sophomore center Brian Zoubek added 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in his most action since returning from a foot injury earlier this month.

Sophomore Jon Scheyer also had 12 points in his first start of the season. He took the place of classmate Gerald Henderson, who had 13 points off the bench because he's struggled with a wrist injury that will require surgery in the offseason.

Henderson had averaged just 5.0 points on 2-of-11 shooting in the previous three games.

Krzyzewski said he's still concerned about the confidence of his team, which includes just one senior in DeMarcus Nelson and two sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup.

"The two losses knocked us back. We're not an established team yet," Krzyzewski said. "The roots of confidence both individually and as a team are not deep enough yet, and they shouldn't be with so many developing players. So when you get knocked back, you have to re-establish those roots and it will take more then one game."

The Blue Devils will try to continue the process against Georgia Tech (11-14, 4-7), which they've beaten in six of the last seven meetings overall and nine of the last 10 in Durham.

The Yellow Jackets have dropped four in a row and have allowed 80 or more points in six of their last seven games, including a 92-84 loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Freshman Maurice Miller had a season-high 29 points and leading scorer Anthony Morrow added 18 against the Hokies, but Georgia Tech committed 34 fouls, sending Virginia Tech to the line 49 times.

The Yellow Jackets are 0-5 against ranked teams this season.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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