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Jalen Johnson Comes Up Big Down Stretch Against Georgia Tech

Freshman hits five of final six shots on way to 18 points

Duke was suffering through its first three-game losing streak since 2016 and facing the possibility of its first four-game skid since 2007. But freshman Jalen Johnson said there was no sense of urgency before the win against Georgia Tech.

“I’d say it was just the same thing as we say every game,” he said. “Just play hard and play together, and I think we really did that tonight from the get-go. I think we jumped out first and that’s what helped us maintain a solid lead throughout the game.”

While the Blue Devils were relieved to get the win, Johnson didn’t want to spend much time reveling in the win.

“It’s good,” he said. “We all wanted this win. We needed this win. It’s a big confidence booster. But we’ve just got to get prepared for Saturday (against Clemson) and kind of put this one behind us. Enjoy it, but we’ve got to start preparing for Saturday.”

Duke led for most of the game against Tech, but the Yellow Jackets had several rallies to keep the game close. Johnson said the Blue Devils were able to hold off Georgia Tech’s rallies.

“Just executing and getting stops,” he said. “Basketball is a game of runs, so we weren’t going to let them keep going on those runs. We decided to match that energy and continue to bring our own energy and eventually take that.”

After a slow start, Johnson hit five of his final six shots down the stretch and finished with 18 points. “I wouldn’t say it was just me,” he said. “It was the leadership of Jordan (Goldwire), Matt (Hurt), Wendell (Moore). We all just played together. I wouldn’t say I really took over. My teammates trusted me and I trusted them. That was the main thing.”