Duke Records Second Straight Road Win
Duke has often been criticized for not playing "true road games," but this year's Blue Devils have become regular road warriors.
While the Blue Devils have had plenty of neutral court wins--Duke's preferred game away from home--including wins at Madison Square Garden against Kansas, Cal and Georgetown, at the start of this week, Duke hadn't played on another team's home floor.
That changed in a big way. First the Blue Devils topped No. 11 Michigan State in East Lansing, 87-75 on Tuesday. Then, Friday night, Duke went to Blacksburg and won its ACC opener against Virginia Tech, 77-63.
"This is the toughest week I’ve had in years for a basketball team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We played at Michigan State in a 9:30 game and got back at four in the morning on Wednesday. This is the biggest week academically for us, it is the week before exams. Our kids have projects due, two of them took tests up at Michigan State. We had to stay in Roanoke last night, we got in early so we gave them time because some of them had projects due by midnight."
The stress of the week showed early, as Duke struggled to make shots, while the Hokies lit up the nets. The Blue Devils fell behind early, 20-8.
Duke responded by going to a smaller lineup, and Jordan Goldwire poured in six first half points on his way to a career-high 10. The move helped Duke cut the lead to three by halftime.
In the second half, the Blue Devils turned up the defense, holding the Hokies to 40 percent shooting while Duke shot 50 percent. Duke also forced 10 second half turnovers and had five steals.
Duke got back freshman forward Cassius Stanley, who suffered a hamstring injury exactly a week earlier. He was expected to be out until after Christmas but started the game.
He ended up playing just seven first-half minutes. He didn't reaggrevate the injury, but Coach K didn't want him to continue to try to play,
"I don’t think he is ready," he said. "Emotionally and physically he hasn’t had to go through a practice where he is sweating. We only practiced an hour on Thursdays before we leave, it’s not enough time. He didn’t do anything wrong, he is going to be healthy he just needs more prep time.”