Hot-shooting Duke rolls to 88-56 win over Virginia Tech

lkeeley@newsobserver.comFebruary 21, 2013 

— Seth Curry hasn’t had an abundance of success playing against Virginia Tech, his father’s alma mater. Two years ago, when Curry fouled out after registering zero points in 15 minutes, the students chanted, “Who’s your Daddy?” as Dell Curry sat in the stands.

So before Duke’s Thursday night game in Blacksburg – Curry’s last game in the Hokies’ home arena – coach Mike Krzyzewski had a talk with his senior sharpshooter.

“It’s not about making up for anything,” Krzyzewski said to Curry. “Just play.”

And that’s what Curry did, as he let the game come to him. He dominated the floor just like his Daddy did with 22 points as Duke rolled to an 88-56 win.

“It’s always good to come back here where my Dad played and play well and get a win,” Curry said in his usual laconic fashion. “The first two times I didn’t play well. I took it upon myself to have a good game.”

Curry scored Duke’s first six points, swishing his first two shots from downtown. That was just part of the Blue Devils’ 3-point show that gave them a 48-28 halftime lead. Duke finished12-of-17 (70.6 percent) from beyond the arc.

No. 6 Duke (23-3, 10-3 ACC) went 8-of-9 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes, with Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton contributing a 3-pointer apiece to go along with Curry’s five. Overall, Duke shot 60 percent from the field in the opening period. Virginia Tech (11-15, 2-11) was never closer than 21 points in the second half.

Curry scored 19 first-half points, sinking five of his six 3-point attempts. His final 3-pointer of the first half was one for the highlight reel, as Curry recovered from a Jarell Eddie block of his layup. Gathering the ball, he stepped back behind the arc and drained it. And he repeated what Eddie had said after blocking his shot, resulting in a technical foul for Curry. He was able to laugh about it with Cook on the bench and, at Krzyzewski’s suggestion, apologized to the referee after halftime.

“My fault, I couldn’t help it,” he said.

Curry attempted only four shots in the second half as Virginia Tech focused more defensive attention on him. Meanwhile, Sulaimon, who averages 20 points a game after a Duke loss, scored 17 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Mason Plumlee (13) and Josh Hairston (11) also finished in double figures for Duke.

It was the ninth time this season Duke had hit at least 10 3-pointers. In those games, the Blue Devils are 9-0.

With the Blue Devils “raining 3s,” the pressure was off Plumlee, who struggled in Duke’s three games last week. Plumlee quietly put together a double-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He also went 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

With much needed time off after last week’s wringer of a schedule, the Blue Devils looked refreshed, especially on defense. Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, who leads the nation in scoring with an average of 25.3 points per game, finished with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Green was forced to help on Curry after Marquis Rankin, Virginia Tech’s best perimeter defender, picked up two early fouls. It didn’t matter what the Hokies tried on Curry, though, as he was in his groove with his father watching three rows behind the Duke bench.

“By the way,” Krzyzewski said after the game, “We know who his Daddy is, too.”

See the box score from the game

Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley

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