Five days after losing their first game of the season, the Blue Devils got back on track with their 10th straight home win of the season with a 73-57 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Duke (16-1, 2-1) received big games from seniors Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee, but likely the most surprising performance came from a freshman. Not Rasheed Sulaimon, but Amile Jefferson. Jefferson, who recorded 28 minutes, posted six points and 10 rebounds. He was a huge presence on the offensive glass and although he obviously can’t replace Ryan Kelly, he’s clearly developing as a quality contributor who will be able to help Duke down the line.
It was a tough first half for the Blue Devils as they struggled to score and hit shots around the basket, which led to them trailing Georgia Tech (10-6, 0-4), 28-27, at the half. However, Duke exploded by scoring 46 second half points and Curry finished with 24 points while Plumlee recorded another double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Blue Devils also limited the Yellow Jackets to one of their five lowest scoring outputs of the season.
Curry was on fire for Duke from beyond the arc as he shot 6-for-7 from three-point land. He shot just 7-for-14 from the field but added a 4-for-4 mark from the charity stripe. He did a terrific job of running off screens and creating distance between him and his defender so he had space to get a clean look from the basket.
Inside the paint, Plumlee had many shots around the basket but converted few. He shot 7-for-20 from the field and added three steals and three blocks apiece. He struggled to get going in the first half and recorded five turnovers. Alongside Curry, Sulaimon put together a nice 15-point, five-rebound game while shooting 5-for-8 from the field.
Quinn Cook added seven points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals for the Blue Devils but shot just 3-for-9 from the field including a 1-for-5 mark from beyond the arc. Duke totaled 10 steals on the night but turned it over 13 times.
The Blue Devils take on Miami (13-3, 4-0), who sits atop the conference standings, in their next match-up Wednesday at 7pm on ESPN. The Hurricanes haven’t lost a contest in the new year as the Blue Devils will try to win their first away ACC game of the season.