Blue Devils sting Yellow Jackets
Published 10:05 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009
By By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA — Duke picked the right opponent to have a miserable night shooting against.
Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler scored 19 points each and the third-ranked Blue Devils overcame their worst shooting game of the season for its seventh straight victory, pulling away for a 70-56 win over sloppy Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.
Duke (15-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) was just 23-of-59 from the field, a 39-percent performance that would have been enough to get them beat on many nights. Not this one.
Georgia Tech (9-7, 0-3) turned it over 18 times, went only 7-of-19 from the free throw line and started with three straight ACC losses for the second straight season.
Lewis Clinch hit a 3-pointer that pulled the Yellow Jackets within 46-41 with just over 8 minutes remaining. But Jon Scheyer hit twice from beyond the arc and Henderson also swished a 3, stretching the margin far beyond comeback range for a team of Georgia Tech’s limited offensive skills.
Zachery Peacock, with 13 points, was the only player in double figures for the Yellow Jackets, who were a little more accurate from the field (41 percent) than they were from the line (37 percent).
Duke’s previous worst shooting effort was a 41 percent against Virginia Tech on Jan. 4. But the Blue Devils, who also started dismally at the line, hit enough free throws down the stretch to bury the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech surprisingly led through most of the first half, building its largest lead when Peacock laid it in off a nifty pass from Lewis Clinch to make it 23-15 about 12 minutes into the game.
The Yellow Jackets made only one more field goal the rest of the half, enduring a scoring drought that stretched for nearly 6 minutes. During that span, they missed eight straight shots, clanked four straight free throws and turned it over four times before Alade Aminu finally made one from the line.
But Duke, despite shooting just 12-of-36 from the field, went to the locker room with a 31-28 lead and steadily pulled away in the second half as a few more jumpers started to fall.
One bright spot for the home team: Top high school prospect Derrick Favors announced earlier Wednesday that he would attend Georgia Tech next season, picking the Yellow Jackets over Georgia and North Carolina State. He attended the game and received a rousing ovation when shown on the video board during the second half.
Georgia Tech could have used him in a gold-and-white uniform.