Blue Devils Claw Past VPI

He didn't score a whole lot. He didn't make the sensational play. And yet Duke senior big man Brian Zoubek was, perhaps, his team's most important player as the Blue Devils inched closer to an ACC regular season championship with a 67-55 win over Virginia Tech.

Without the three pointers falling at their usual rate, Duke was once again forced to scrap. Enter Zoubek who finished with 16 rebounds including eight on the offensive end to help his team hold on down the stretch.

The Blue Devils needed every one of those rebounds along with the countless shot alterations on the defensive end as the Hokies' length and overall athleticism bothered Duke on the offensive end for most of the night.

Only Coach K's "big three" were able to find any continuity on the offensive end. Kyle Singler led Duke with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Nolan Smith added 23 points. Senior Jon Scheyer finished with 15 points and seven assists. The rest of the team managed just four points.

For the game the Blue Devils managed just 18-of-62 (.290) from the field and 10-of-30 (.333) from the perimeter.

Luckily the free throw line was a different story where Duke knocked down 21-of-26 from the charity stripe (.808)

After building an 11 point advantage midway through the first half, Duke found itself quickly in a dogfight as the Hokies cut the lead to just five at the break.

The momentum continued as the second half as the Hokies would claw all the way back to take a one point lead on a step back three pointer by Malcolm Delany to make it 45-44 with 9:54 remaining. However, Duke would respond with an 11-2 spurt that included an offensive rebound and three point play by Zoubek.

Virginia Tech would get no closer than six the rest of the way.

Duke, which now stands alone at the top of the ACC with an 11-2 conference record. The Blue Devils next face Tulsa in a non-conference matchup on Thursday night in Cameron.

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