DURHAM, N.C. — For the second time in two weeks Tuesday,
Otherwise, this 85-57 beatdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium had little resemblance to the 88-56 pasting in Blacksburg last month.
In short, Tech played far better here on the road against the nation's third-ranked team than it did at home.
At Cassell Coliseum, the Hokies trailed by 20 points at half, and the Devils cruised. Tuesday, Tech led for most of the first half, trailed by three at intermission and was within six with 12:30 remaining.
Duke (26-4, 13-4
"They came ready to play, which is a tribute to them," Duke coach
The Devils' size, depth and talent prevailed, in large measure to three seniors playing their final home game.
Duke made 12 of 23 3-pointers and committed only four turnovers.
The extraordinary Green matched his season average with 25 points but as usual received scant little help. Jarell Eddie scored eight points in the first 5:04, but finished with 13 on 3-of-10 shooting.
"We had opportunities to win this game tonight," Tech coach James Johnson said. "We've got to find ways to finish games, whether we get tired down the stretch, whether they do try to pound it inside on us, whether we're in foul trouble. We've got to find a way to get guys to make plays."
Good luck with that next season sans Green.
The notion floated by some that the Hokies' trials preclude considering Green for ACC Player of the Year is short-sighted. He's having a historic season, and his Division I-best scoring average of 25.0 is hardly the product of a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach.
The first major-conference player since Purdue's
"He's led that team, and he hasn't had all the resources around him," Krzyzewski said, "and he still puts up those numbers. Just a terrific performance all year by Erick."
Case in point, Green's senior night at Cassell Coliseum. In Saturday's 69-61 victory over
"It sums his whole season up in one game, what type of player he is and what type of kid he is," Johnson said earlier this week. "He'd much rather have the win. He makes the right decisions as a basketball player, the right decisions as a point guard. If that means shoot the three, I'll take the three; if that means use my middle game, if that means make the pass off over to the big man or kick it out for a three. And that's how it's been all year long."
I'm not sure if I'll vote for Green come Sunday.
Duke's season figures to extend well into March, if not April. Virginia Tech's likely will continue two more games, at
How much the Hokies have left in their small tank is uncertain.
"As the game went on, I thought we got tired," Johnson said. "I thought our legs got to us a little bit, but that's due to them. They made us work for everything."