Devils Handle Va Tech, 80-67

This time there was no need for a miracle heave. No need for anything heroic. Instead Duke relied on old fashioned, high intensity defense coupled with the re-establishment of one of its All-Americans to hand Virginia Tech a sixth consecutive conference loss, 80-67 on Thursday night in Blacksburg.

After scoring just four points in the season's only setback against Georgetown, Duke's Shelden Williams was on a mission against the Hokies. The senior big man scored 24 points and pulled in 15 rebounds, matching J.J. Redick's 24 as Duke improved to 18-1 on the season and a perfect 6-0 in the ACC.

The two All-Americans also had help from their teammates, and actually got periodic breathers as freshman Josh McRoberts played his best game in three weeks, while sophomore swingman DeMarcus Nelson returned to action as well.

McRoberts scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds, and handed out five assists while starting for the first time in the last four games. Meanwhile Nelson, who hadn't played since the win over Maryland in Cameron, added seven points off the bench.

After seeing the Hokies nearly upset them in the first meeting, Duke used a balanced scoring attack to seize control early on and never let up, coasting throughout much of the second half behind the dominance of Williams inside.

After taking a 43-30 advantage into the break behind 25 points from the two All-Americans, the Blue Devils continued to build the lead throughout the early portion of the second period. When Greg Paulus found McRoberts for a lay-up inside with 15:07 to play, it pushed the Duke lead to 56-33, the biggest of the night.

However, the Hokies seemed to tap into some of the same magic they used in Cameron and cut the lead to 12 on a pair of Jamon Gordon free throws with just over three minutes to play. However, Duke got a pair of big offensive rebounds from Lee Melchionni, allowing the offensive to drain the clock further, killing any chances of a Hokie rally.

Duke returns to the court on Saturday against Virginia in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM.

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