Second-half explosion powers Duke past Georgia Tech

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the best advice he could offer his players to improve the team's sluggish offense was to shoot without pausing.
The third-ranked Blue Devils were on the mark with that in the second half Thursday night.
Seth Curry scored 24 points as Duke upended Georgia Tech 73-57 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"I thought we were hesitant to shoot," Krzyzewski said of the first half. "We're pleased with the second half."
That's when Duke (16-1, 3-1 ACC) scored 46 points, its most productive half this month. The Blue Devils, who were coming off Saturday's eight-point loss at North Carolina State that cost them the nation's top ranking, shot 53.1 percent (17-for-32) from the field after halftime.
"We ran our stuff," Duke guard Quinn Cook said. "I think (earlier) we were playing a little frantic and guys weren't taking their shots."
Several factors worked in Duke's favor, including the return to form of Curry. He missed the final three-plus minutes of the N.C. State game with a slightly sprained left ankle, but he logged 34 minutes Thursday.
Duke's Mason Plumlee added 16 points and 13 rebounds, dismissing 2-for-12 first-half shooting from the field. Freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon supplied 15 points one game after going 0-for-10 from the field.
"We started playing with just a lot of confidence," Cook said.
The Yellow Jackets (10-6, 0-4) were led by freshman guard Chris Bolden's 20 points. Georgia Tech, the only ACC team without a conference victory, won't have a chance for revenge in the regular season, as this was the teams' only scheduled meeting.
"I thought we played extremely hard and competed," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "That was our main objective. I thought they matched that, especially in the second half."
Cook, who was scoreless in the first half, drained a 3-pointer on Duke's first possession of the second half, putting the Blue Devils on top. Duke never trailed again.
Duke went on a 14-3 run across the first four minutes of the second half, causing Krzyzewski to run to midcourt to hug Plumlee as the Yellow Jackets called for timeout for the second time in the half.
"Surprised, for sure," Plumlee said of the sequence. "I just caught him."
Georgia Tech held a 28-27 halftime edge, leading for all expect a couple of possessions. The Blue Devils shot 27.3 percent (9-for-33) from the field in the opening half, but they were bailed out in part by the Yellow Jackets' 13 turnovers.
That was more turnovers than Georgia Tech had committed in an entire game of any of the team's first three ACC outings. The Yellow Jackets finished with 21 giveaways.
"Those young guys got a little baptism under fire," Gregory said.
Bolden scored eight of Georgia Tech's first 20 points. His next points came on a 3-pointer that gave the Yellow Jackets a 26-19 edge.
Georgia Tech built a 9-2 lead in the first four minutes.
Duke took its first lead at 19-17 on Curry's 3-pointer with slightly more than seven minutes left in the half before a 9-0 run by the Yellow Jackets.
Tyler Thornton started in place of Sulaimon, who had started the first 16 games of his career. Sulaimon entered the game at the 15:14 mark of the first half, and on his first shot, at the 8:50 mark, he hit a 3-pointer.
NOTES: Duke holds a 15-1 record since the 2009-10 season in games following a loss. ... It was the third game against a Top 25 opponent for Georgia Tech this season, all losses on the road. ... Only four Georgia Tech players had ever previously played in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Of those, Daniel Miller and Mfon Udofia were in the starting lineup. ... Both teams are off this weekend, with Duke's next game Wednesday night at first-place Miami, which is unbeaten in the conference, and Georgia Tech's next outing the same night at North Carolina. That will mark Georgia Tech's third trip to the Tar Heel State in 15 days, with the Yellow Jackets having already visited North Carolina State.