By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – Duke appears to be jelling just in time for March Madness.
J.J. Redick scored 19 points and No. 6 Duke secured its seventh straight season with at least 20 victories by beating Georgia Tech 77-58 Wednesday night.
Redick did most of his damage from beyond the 3-point line, shooting 6-of-7. Dahntay Jones added 17 points for the Blue Devils (20-4, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won four in a row.
“All those teams that beat us played great games against us,” Redick said. “Maybe we had to lose those games to know how to win.”
Daniel Ewing scored nine of his 13 points during a four-minute stretch of the second half to help Duke beat the Yellow Jackets for the 14th straight time.
The Blue Devils are tied with Maryland for second place in the ACC.
“We’re playing very, very well,” Jones said. “I’m proud of our guys.”
Ed Nelson had a career-high 22 points for Georgia Tech (12-12, 5-8), which has lost a season-high four in a row. During that streak, the Yellow Jackets have gotten little production from their bench, and they finished with only two points from their reserves against Duke.
In the past four games, Georgia Tech’s bench has been outscored 85-19.
“Confidence is a funny thing,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. “You lose some close games early and all of a sudden, you might start to second-guess yourself. We’ve just got to stay with them.”
The Yellow Jackets never recovered from a slow start, shooting only 3-of-19 in the opening 14 minutes. Nelson, who was averaging 7.7 points a game, had all three baskets and finished as the only Georgia Tech player to make at least half his shots. He was 9-of-16.
“I’ve got to thank my teammates,” Nelson said. “They did a good job of driving and dishing the ball to me. They got it to me in the right place.”
Chris Bosh scored 11 points for Georgia Tech, which went 2-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line. The seven attempts were the fewest for the Yellow Jackets since Jan. 27, 1993, when they made 3-of-6 against North Carolina State.
“We feel great about the way our kids played defense,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We tried to take away 3s and that’s what really helped us. We didn’t help as much inside – I thought that Nelson was terrific – but our defense was really good.”
Redick got started early, hitting a wide-open 3-pointer on Duke’s first possession and never slowing down. He made his first five shots from long range, including two during a 10-0 run late in the first half that gave the Blue Devils a 33-19 lead.
“My shots were really falling,” Redick said. “I got in a rhythm early, and it was good for me the rest of the game.
“Your confidence goes up after you hit a few. Then, even if I miss a few, I’m still going to shoot them.”
After falling behind by 19 early in the second half, Georgia Tech made a brief rally. Bosh hit a jumper and Nelson scored two baskets from in close to cut the margin to 13, prompting Krzyzewski to call a timeout.
The Blue Devils finally put the game away with a burst led by Ewing, a backup point guard. After Shelden Williams missed a free throw, the 6-foot-3 Ewing outjumped 6-7 Anthony McHenry for an offensive rebound, then dribbled outside and hit a 3.
Ewing added another 24 seconds later for a 17-point lead, and the Yellow Jackets never recovered.
“We got outmuscled, we got outhustled,” Nelson said. “You’ve got to battle, and Duke won the battle.”
Williams finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Duke.