Sunday, March 01, 2009

Duke 72, Virginia Tech 65

Duke finished off a solid week of road wins by valuing the basketball. Duke committed just 9 turnovers yesterday, and the last one came with 14:55 to play. By contrast, Virginia Tech coughed the ball up 19 times, leading to several easy baskets for the Devils. Duke is the hardest team in the ACC to turnover, and the best team in the ACC at forcing opponents to cough it up. That difference has been key for the Devils all year, and paid great dividends on Saturday.

Henderson and Singler led the way for Duke, one in the first half (Gerald) and one in the second (Kyle). Gerald had 21 points and 6 assists, but had to struggle to get it. He was looking way too much to take control and take his own shot. It ended up being his most inefficient performance in quite a while. He quite properly has been getting the largest share of Duke's possessions, but doing so within the flow of the offense. Yesterday, he dominated the ball to the point that it disrupted the offense at times.

Singler highlighted his versatility in a way that he hasn't done as often recently. He made some nice drives, displayed a variety of solid face-up moves, and knocked down the outside shot. He also looked solid at the line for the first time in a while. And special kudos go to Elliot Williams, whose harassing defense on Malcolm Delaney held the Hokie point guard to one of his poorest showings of the year.

There were some concerns. Duke had its worst rebounding game of the season, and got beat by a team that, on the whole, isn't that much bigger than the Devils. The offense stalled at times, and broke down into lots of dribbling, one or no passes, and jumpshots. We have a tendency to fall in love with the jumper (Henderson especially), which is fine if it comes after attacking the defense, but less fine if the ball never gets inside the free throw line on a possession. But on the whole, Duke handled a high effort game from a tough Hokies team, and walked out of Cassell with the victory. Here's the HD Box:

And, as a bonus, the +/- for VT. The numbers for Thompson reflect the quality of his play. He had a terrific defensive game. The numbers for Allen similarly reflected the quality of his play. It was a tough game for Jeff. Also, note that Delaney and Vassallo never sat, and Thompson played the whole second half.




off def +/- off def +/- off def +/-
Thompson 15 15 0 40 36 4 55 51 4
Hudson 23 31 -8 38 31 7 61 62 -1
Davila 0 4 -4 0 0 0 0 4 -4
Bell 6 9 -3 10 12 -2 16 21 -5
Witcher 10 21 -11 16 11 5 26 32 -6
Delaney 25 36 -11 40 36 4 65 72 -7
Vassallo 25 36 -11 40 36 4 65 72 -7
Allen 21 28 -7 16 18 -2 37 46 -9

25 36 -11 40 36 4 65 72 -7

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