Duke expected a tough, physical game from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and they got it. The Yellow Jackets took it to the Blue Devils building a 14-6 lead in the first half. The Yellow Jackets outplayed the Blue Devils in the paint on both ends of the floor for the better part of the first half but a 24-9 run to end the half secured an 11 point lead for Duke going into the locker room at the midway point.
Going into the second half with a double-figure lead was not enough cushion for the Blue Devils who promptly began the second half flat at the same time Georgia Tech caught fire. The Blue Devils surrendered the lead to a gutty Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets struggled from the outside in the first half but got hot from beyond the arc in the second and built a 3 point lead from what was an 11 point deficit. Cassius Stanley was crucial to keeping the Blue Devils close with several rim shaking dunks off of Tre Jones feeds and one drive to the bucket. Duke and Georgia Tech traded buckets and game pressure mid-way through the second half with both teams delivering to one-up the other.
Duke needed stops and delivered, holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless over the final three minutes of the game which sealed their fate. Javin DeLaurier's big rebound in the final minute of the game, when the Blue Devils were struggling to secure them, may have been the biggest play of the game. The much maligned senior provided a blocked shot and a rebound when the Blue Devils needed it the most - DeLaurier was fouled on the play and hit 2 free throws to give the Blue Devils a 6 point lead with 55 seconds left.
The Blue Devils were paced in scoring by freshman Tre Jones with 16 points, Jones also lead the Blue Devils in rebounding with 8, Jones also had 7 assists, 4 steals and 4 turnovers. Vernon Carey Jr. did not have his best game of the year, turning the ball over 4 times, but did manage to score 14 points on 6-14 shooting with 6 rebounds. Cassius Stanley may have had the most electrifying game of the night, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting and dunking everything that came his way. Matthew Hurt scored 11 points for the Blue Devils and sophomore Alex O'Connell hit on 4-6 shots for 9 points in the game.
The Yellow Jackets for 18 from guard Jose Alvarado and 14 from James Banks III who also had 7 blocked shots. The Blue Devils edged the Yellow Jackets in paint points 38-36 but were out-rebounded by Georgia Tech 30-39. Duke was doubled up in second chances points 14 to 7.
The Blue Devils shot 50% (6 of 12) from beyond the arc but struggled to make free throws, only shooting 52.4%. The Yellow Jackets shot 31.3% from beyond the arc and 35.9% from the floor for the game.
The Blue Devils showed a quiet calm during each and every Georgia Tech run, the youth on the Blue Devil team never played young and grinding out a win in ACC play on the road is the type of thing that should pay dividends as this team goes forward.