GAME NOTES: The fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils will begin a stretch of three games in a five-day span, as they take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an ACC affair on Tuesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils have won three straight games and remain within striking distance in the ACC standings, at 9-3, good for third place behind Syracuse (12-0) and Virginia (12-1). Duke edged out Maryland at home, 67-65 last time out. With the win, the Blue Devils earned their 20th victory of the season, the 18th straight season they have achieved that distinction and the 30th time in Coach K's 34 years at the helm.
Brian Gregory's Yellow Jackets enter this game off a 74-71 win over Boston College. The victory was just the fourth in ACC play this year for Georgia Tech, which hovers just over .500 overall at 13-12.
Duke holds a 67-23 series advantage thanks to six straight wins over Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils are seeking a regular-season sweep after routing the Yellow Jackets in Durham back on Jan. 7, 79-57.
One of the top offensive squads in the nation, Duke has filled up the basket at an efficient .470 from the floor, including an impressive .411 from behind the arc. The result is a gaudy 81.7 ppg, as the team enjoys a +14.3 scoring margin. Freshman phenom Jabari Parker has lived up to the hype that followed him to Durham. The 6-foot-8 youngster leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 19.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game (second in the conference in both categories). Transfer Rodney Hood has made an immediate impact as well for Duke, netting 16.3 ppg, thanks in large part to his .443 accuracy from behind the arc. Point guard Quinn Cook can both score (12.1 ppg) and distribute (5.0 apg) at a high rate. Andre Dawkins (9.3 ppg) and Rasheed Sulaimon (9.2 ppg) add even more depth.
Parker continued his torrid pace, eclipsing the 20-point mark for the third straight game, finishing with 23 points in the narrow win over Maryland. The Blue Devils went an efficient 28-of-34 from the free-throw line, while the Terps were just 12-of-19. Hood and Sulaimon joined Parker in double figures with 11 points apiece.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well, but Georgia Tech's scorching .778 accuracy from the floor in the second half (14-of-18) held off Boston College, which shot just under 51 percent for the game. Four Yellow Jackets notched double figures in the win, led by Daniel Miller's 18 points. Marcus Georges- Hunt and Kammeon Holsey finished with 15 points each, while Robert Carter Jr. netted 10.
Georgia Tech has a thin +0.8 scoring margin and the lack of separation is the primary reason for the team's inability to put more wins together. The Yellow Jackets come in averaging a modest 67.8 ppg and suffer from a -2.2 turnover margin. Trae Golden leads the way offensively with 13.4 ppg. Georges-Hunt is next in line at 12.3 ppg, while Miller (11.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Carter (9.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg), who missed the first 10 ACC games due to an injured knee, now completes the frontcourt.
There may not be time left for Duke to realistically catch Syracuse or Virginia in the league race, but that won't prevent the team from finishing strong.
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