Jan. 10, 2002
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
DURHAM, N.C. – There wasn’t a smile before or after Duke’s lopsided win over Georgia Tech.
The Blue Devils said to get used to it.
No. 2 Duke was at a physical and emotional high after its first loss of the season, getting 23 points apiece from Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy and forcing 18 first-half turnovers in a 104-79 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Thursday night.
“I thought there was just hard play,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said when asked why his team seemed angry. “Don’t confuse hard play for anger.”
Georgia Tech set the Blue Devils off by stretching on both ends of the court during pregame warmups, saying they disrespected the Blue Devils.
“Today was not about winning. Today was about dominating and we did that,” Chris Duhon said. “We just want to find something to tick us off so we can play with a chip on our shoulders.”
The game was physical as the two teams combined for 56 fouls.
“I didn’t have a whistle in my mouth so I don’t know what went on. It was just physical,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.
Duke fell from the top ranking and saw its 22-game winning streak end after a one-point loss to 17-point underdog Florida State on Sunday night. But the Blue Devils (13-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Georgia Tech for the 11th straight time, scoring the third-most points in the 68-game series.
“This is how it’s going to be the rest of the year,” said Boozer, who was 6-for-9 from the field and 11-for-14 from the foul line. “We made a commitment to each other to come out and play the rest of the season like it’s our last game. It’s business.”
No Duke player was smiling or joking in warmups and the Blue Devils took that intensity into the game, getting a basket from each starter in the opening four minutes to built the lead to 20 in less than eight minutes.
The only drama in the second half was whether Krzyzewski would settle down after an emotional outburst midway through the opening period that earned the Hall of Fame coach his first technical of the season.
Krzyzewski was enraged after an intentional elbowing foul against Boozer. After Halston Lane missed the first of his two free throws, Coach K waved and yelled across the court at official John Clougherty, who then gave the Duke coach a technical.
A furious Krzyzewski verbally assaulted Clougherty even more, then raced back and forth in front of the Duke bench, urging the crowd on by pumping his fist.
He and Clougherty argued less than four minutes later during a television timeout as Krzyzewski asked what he had done wrong as his assistants tried to keep the peace.
And this all happened with the Blue Devils leading comfortably.
But Krzyzewski remained in the game – and so did his team.
“Coach was fired up. He was into it,” Boozer said. “He doesn’t want us to feel alone out there. He’s 54-years-old and he’s passionate about the game and he wants us to be the best we can be. It’s great to have a coach like that.”
If Duke can be blamed for taking the Seminoles for granted four days ago, there was no such attitude against the Yellow Jackets.
The Blue Devils went up by 30 with 5:21 left before halftime as the team’s intensity increased after Krzyzewski’s outburst.
There was plenty of hustle to go around.
On one play late in the half, Dahntay Jones took away a sure layup from Akins with a spectacular block that Duhon tried to save by diving into the Cameron Indoor Stadium crowd.
Jason Williams buried a long 3-pointer at the halftime horn to give Duke a 58-32 lead and the confidence it may have lost after its loss to the Seminoles, getting 30 points off turnovers.
Duke spent plenty of time working on its free-throw shooting heading into this one. A 7-for-19 effort from the line cost the Blue Devils against Florida State, but they were 16-for-19 from there in the opening 20 minutes to help built their big cushion and ended up 30-for-44.
“We kind of kept our foot on the gas the whole game,” Duke senior Matt Christensen said. “There were rumors that we come out with 4-5 strong minutes and then kind of let up. We wanted to show that’s not the case.”