No. 2 Duke braces for improving Georgia Tech

NCAA Basketball
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Duke is riding high after back-to-back wins by more than 30 points apiece since resuming the Atlantic Coast Conference portion of its schedule.

Georgia Tech has its own momentum, created with a stunning result in its most recent game.

And now the teams meet Wednesday night in Atlanta, where second-ranked Duke (13-1, 3-0 ACC) will arrive as one of only two teams without a blemish on its ACC record.

Georgia Tech (7-7-, 2-2) built a huge lead in a 96-83 victory Saturday night at North Carolina, which missed its first 15 shots from the field.

A strong defense is what Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner expects from his team.

“That’s who we are,” Pastner said. “We are a defensive-oriented team. We’re always going to pride ourselves on defense. That’s the deal. Everything is about defense.”

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he likes how the Blue Devils have been spreading out the offense.

“Our guys just played really hard and they shared the ball,” he said. “With 23 assists (in a 95-62 win at Miami on Saturday), it was kind of nice to see.”

Duke freshmen Vernon Carey Jr., Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt all have reached the 20-point mark in games in ACC play.

The Blue Devils have showed a defensive side that’s impressive as well. That was on display in the 95-62 rout of Miami on Saturday.

“It’s tough to single out one of them when they all did a good job,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke throttled Boston College and Miami across a five-night period. Those were the Blue Devils’ first consecutive victories by 30 or more points in ACC games since the 2001-02 season.

Duke has reported some unfortunate news this week, though, with freshman guard Wendell Moore Jr. needing surgery Monday for a broken bone in his right hand. That injury was suffered in the Miami game, and he’ll be out for an undetermined amount of time.

“We think everything is going to be good, but he’ll be out,” Krzyzewski said.

Moore, who has made five starts, is averaging 7.4 points per game. He ranks third on the team in assists (28) and steals (15) while averaging 22.1 minutes per outing.

Georgia Tech will be aiming for consecutive victories for the first time since early December. This will be the team’s first game in Atlanta after five in a row away from home.

For Georgia Tech junior swingman Jordan Usher, it will be his second home game because he sat out the early part of the season as required after his transfer from Southern California.

The biggest uptick for the Yellow Jackets has come with guard Jose Alvarado back in the lineup for a couple of weeks after he missed time with an injury.

“That’s just part of the deal,” Pastner said. “That’s why for teams being able to stay healthy is a big part of having success.”

The Yellow Jackets will need all hands on deck for this game with Duke. Post player James Banks provided 12 points and seven rebounds in the North Carolina game for his second-best production in more than a month.

“James Banks has kind of been missing there lately, and he was really active,” Pastner said.

–Field Level Media

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