Feb. 20, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Nolan Smith scored 28 points and No. 5 Duke made its case to return to the top of the national rankings by routing Georgia Tech 79-57 on Sunday night.
Kyle Singler added 15 points and Ryan Kelly had 10 for the Blue Devils (25-2, 12-1 ACC). A technical foul on coach Mike Krzyzewski inspired the overwhelming run that carried Duke to its sixth straight win and 10th victory in a row in conference play.
Duke, the reigning national champion and preseason No. 1, slipped from that perch after a loss in mid-January but could return to the top spot Monday when the new poll is released. All four teams ahead of the Blue Devils – Kansas, Ohio State, Texas and Pitt – lost in the past week.
Iman Shumpert and Moe Miller had 13 points apiece, but they couldn’t keep the Yellow Jackets (11-15, 3-9) from losing their sixth straight ACC game.
Singler bounced back from his worst game of the season, a 2-point performance against Virginia. His jumper 10 seconds into the second half gave Duke its first double-digit lead, 39-28, and prolonged the run that followed Krzyzewski’s technical foul.
Duke outscored Georgia Tech 54-22 during the roughly 21 minutes that followed that “T.” By the time Seth Curry hit a free throw to make it 67-40 with 9:12 left, the Blue Devils were well on their way to their NCAA-best 34th straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium – where Georgia Tech has only won once since 1996.
Smith, the ACC leader in scoring and assists, was 10 of 20 with four 3-pointers while reaching the 20-point mark for the league-best 16th time this season. He helped Duke shoot 45 percent – 50 percent in the second half – and win a rematch of last year’s conference championship game and claim a matchup of the ACC’s best and worst shooting teams.
The Blue Devils, also the league’s most accurate team from 3-point range, hit 6 of 16 from beyond the arc. Georgia Tech, its worst team from that distance, was 3 of 15 – and two of those came in the opening 3 minutes.
Yet, for a 10-minute chunk of the first half, the Blue Devils looked plenty capable of joining the Jayhawks, Buckeyes, Longhorns and Panthers as upset victims by allowing Georgia Tech to repeatedly score in threes – from beyond the arc, and the old-fashioned way through contact.
Then came the “T” on Coach K.
Krzyzewski became incensed when Duke freshman Tyler Thornton was whistled for holding Shumpert, and official Bryan Kersey slapped the Hall of Fame coach with his first technical foul of the season at the 10:16 mark.
After Shumpert hit four consecutive free throws to put Tech up 18-13, the Blue Devils outscored the Yellow Jackets 24-10 the rest of the half and took the lead for good on Smith’s 3-pointer with 4:45 left that made it 26-24.
Glen Rice Jr. finished with 12 points while Shumpert was 4 of 16 for Georgia Tech.