Virginia Tech vs Duke

No. 3 Duke starts slow, pulls away from Virginia Tech wire reports

DURHAM, N.C. -- The last home game for Duke's three seniors unexpectedly was tight until they turned it into a rout by doing what they do best.

Seth Curry hit 3-pointers. Mason Plumlee battled in the paint.

And Ryan Kelly -- well, he did a little bit of everything to help the third-ranked Blue Devils pull away and beat Virginia Tech 85-57 on Tuesday night.

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"It's hard (to focus) until you realize you're about to lose or it's possible you could lose," Plumlee said.

Curry scored 20 points with five 3-pointers, and Kelly added 18 points with team bests of nine rebounds and five assists in his second straight strong performance since coming back from an injury.

Plumlee finished with 14 points for Duke (26-4, 13-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which shot nearly 52 percent yet struggled for a while in a classic trap-game scenario before outscoring the Hokies 32-10 during the final 12-plus minutes to finish unbeaten at home for the 17th time in school history.

"We're emotionally spent," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're not as physically spent as we are emotionally. It's been a heck of a thing. ... I'm proud of our guys. I thought the three seniors just asserted themselves in the second half."

Erick Green scored 25 points on 10 of 19 shooting to lead Virginia Tech (13-17, 4-13), which hasn't beaten a team in the upper half of the league standings all season.

"We were right there, but we didn't put a 40-minute game together," Green said. "We played 30 minutes, and then they just blew us out."

Still, for much of the game, they found a way to keep pace with Duke. Jarell Eddie's jumper with 12 1/2 minutes left pulled Virginia Tech to 53-47.

Kelly capped Duke's next possession with an extraordinary effort to stick back a rebound after Tyler Thornton had a shot blocked. The Blue Devils outrebounded Virginia Tech by 12 in the second half.

"That's a point of emphasis for us, period," Kelly said. "Rebounding's obviously something that, in the past, hasn't been our biggest strength. And if you can take your lesser strengths and make them bigger strengths, you can be a really good team."

That started a game-ending run in which the Blue Devils scored on 15 of their final 16 possessions and included curtain calls for the three seniors.

The Blue Devils improved to 17-0 this season with Kelly -- a 6-foot-11 floor-stretching threat who missed nearly two months with a right foot injury. He scored 36 points last time out in his first game back, a 79-76 victory over then-No. 5 Miami three nights earlier.

"Kelly gives them a whole other level," said Eddie, who finished with 13 points. "They're really able to spread the floor. It's tough to guard all those guys."

Quinn Cook also had 14 points while Curry -- the son of former Virginia Tech and NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry -- hit a handful of 3s against his dad's alma mater for the second time in 13 days.

There were traps aplenty in this one for the Blue Devils, who had a tough time generating the same high level of emotional energy that they had against the Hurricanes.

Couple that with rival North Carolina looming ahead this weekend, and it might have been easy for Duke to look past a last-place Virginia Tech team that the Blue Devils had beaten by 32 in Blacksburg yet quietly entered having won two of three.

"We definitely had to be (wary), and I think we were," Kelly said. "We knew we had to be prepared."

Cameron was energized for the Senior Night festivities -- but not much else -- during a first half surprisingly led for much of the way by the Hokies.

Duke outscored Virginia Tech 26-11 during a 9-minute stretch to turn a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead, but led just 38-35 at the end of a sluggish opening 20 minutes. Duke pushed its lead to 12 slightly over 4 minutes into the second half on a Curry 3 before Green briefly brought the Hokies right back.

"You have a different type of emotion coming into the game -- you want to play well really badly," Curry said. "You don't want to be nostalgic and think about it being your last game, but you can't help it. I think that's why we got off to a slow start."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Seth Curry goes in for two of his 20 points -- including five 3-pointers -- during his final home game at Duke. (AP)
Seth Curry goes in for two of his 20 points -- including five 3-pointers -- during his final home game at Duke. (AP)
Virginia Tech (13-17)352257
Duke #3 (26-4) «384785
VATECH:E. Green 25 Pts
VATECH:J. Eddie 7 Reb
VATECH:E. Green 2 Ast
DUKE:S. Curry 20 Pts
DUKE:R. Kelly 9 Reb
DUKE:R. Kelly 5 Ast

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Virginia TechDuke
Erick Green
Ryan Kelly
Virginia Tech Hokies
E. Green, G3410-194-642125
J. Eddie, F343-104-471013
C. Barksdale, F273-80-04036
R. Brown, G211-50-22003
C. Raines, F110-20-01040
M. Rankin, G242-30-00244
M. Wood, F210-40-07120
J. Van Zegeren, F152-30-13044
W. Johnston, G50-20-01000
C. Beyer, F41-10-00012
J. Racer, G20-00-00100
M. Patrick, G10-00-00000
G. Donlon, G10-00-00000
A. Smith, GDid Not Play
Totals 22-578-132971957
Duke Blue Devils
S. Curry, G366-113-451020
M. Plumlee, F344-106-875214
Q. Cook, G346-100-062314
R. Kelly, F316-124-495118
R. Sulaimon, G172-40-01115
T. Thornton, G282-40-03236
J. Hairston, F102-50-04034
A. Jefferson, F41-10-01002
A. Murphy, F31-10-00002
M. Plumlee, F20-00-00100
T. Zafirovski, F10-00-00000
A. Dawkins, GDid Not Play
R. Hood, GDid Not Play
Totals 30-5813-1636171385
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219
Other games
SJU 40 Final
ND 66
MU 60 Final
RUT 54
TCU 68 Final
KSU 79
OHST 67 Final
IND 58
MEMP 56 Final