Jan. 10, 2007
ATLANTA (AP) – Javaris Crittenton wasn’t about to let Georgia Tech lose to Duke again.
The freshman guard made all the big plays down the stretch and led the Yellow Jackets to just their second win over the 11th-ranked Blue Devils in the past decade, 74-63 Wednesday night.
“I never give up,” said Crittenton, who came up with a huge steal that helped stymie a Duke comeback. “No matter how I’m playing, I just want to do whatever it takes to help my team win.”
Duke (13-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost its second straight, failing to bounce back from a shocking home loss to Virginia Tech, and is off to its worst start in the league since 1996.
“Just because you’re at Duke doesn’t mean you inherit winning,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “You inherit money – you don’t inherit knowing how to win. We’ve got to learn how to do that.”
Georgia Tech (12-4, 1-2 ACC) defeated the Blue Devils at Alexander Memorial Coliseum for the first time since ’96. Duke had won 21 of 22 over its conference rival, including five straight, before a loss that sent the Georgia Tech student body charging onto the court for a raucous celebration.
“It’s huge for me,” said Morrow, a native of Charlotte, N.C. “Someone was telling me after the game, ‘It’s a good win, but you need to calm down. It’s just one win.’ But I can’t calm down. It’s my first time beating Duke. I feel great.”
Jon Scheyer led Duke with 16 points, but the Blue Devils struggled most of the game offensively. They shot 43 percent from the field, went 4-of-20 on 3-pointers and couldn’t take advantage of 28 turnovers by Georgia Tech.
Duke fell to 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since losing its first four conference games in 1996.
“I thought we played hard,” Krzyzewski said. “You don’t get 28 turnovers if you’re not playing hard. But we’ve been struggling all year long to score. We’re still struggling to score.”
Dickey, who started the season on the bench, didn’t have any trouble scoring. He had Georgia Tech’s first 10 points and finished 6-of-8 from the field and 9-of-11 at the foul line.
“I’m always thinking about those times at the beginning of the year,” Dickey said. “When I was scoring two points a game, four points a game, I knew I was better than that. I’m glad they stuck behind me and didn’t give up on me.”
After Duke whittled an 11-point deficit down to 55-53, Crittenton came up with a potential game-saver for Georgia Tech. Josh McRoberts blocked a shot and came up with the ball, looking to send the Blue Devils on the way to a potential tying basket, but Crittenton sneaked in from behind, swiped the ball away and went in for a dunk with 3:35 remaining.
“He didn’t have an awareness about where I was,” Crittenton said. “I was able to come in from behind and get the strip.”
After a Duke miss, Crittenton dribbled quickly the other way and flipped a lob pass to Thaddeus Young, who couldn’t pull off a spectacular dunk but went back up for a layup that pushed Georgia Tech to a 59-53 lead.
Finally, after the Blue Devils missed again, Mario West led the fast break and found Crittenton streaking in off the right side. The freshman took the pass and laid it in, despite a hard foul by Greg Paulus that sent the Georgia Tech player tumbling to the court.
Crittenton knocked down the free throw to finish off the three-point play, putting the Yellow Jackets up 62-53 with 2:47 to play.
For good measure, Crittenton came up with a steal in the final minute that finished off Duke’s comeback hopes. And he made the last basket of the game on a layup, despite taking a pop to the face that sent him off with a bloodied nose.
The youngster didn’t mind a bit – especially after a last-second loss at Clemson over the weekend. He scored 22 points in that one, but it wasn’t enough.
“We still lost, so I couldn’t care less about the points,” Crittenton said.
In contrast to Duke, the Yellow Jackets went 7-of-12 from beyond the 3-point arc. Morrow was 3-of-5, Young swished both of his attempts and Jeremis Smith even made his first 3 of the season.
As for the Blue Devils, McRoberts summed it up best:
“Everybody’s frustrated right now,” he said.