BLACKSBURG – Carried by double-digit outings from Tyrece Radford, Keve Aluma and Jalen Cone, the No. 20/20 Virginia Tech men’s basketball team defeated No. 19/23 Duke, 74-67 in a second half thriller Tuesday night at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum.
Tuesday night mark’s Mike Young‘s first career victory over the Blue Devils. Young improves to 1-3 all time, losing twice last year and once at Wofford in 2014. The Hokies have won four of the last five contests against Duke at Cassell Coliseum, all of which Duke has been ranked in the top-20.
Radford earned his first double-double of the season, picking up 18 points and 12 rebounds. Radford led the team in points, rebounds and assists, contributing five. Aluma had another strong offensive appearance with 17 points and seven rebounds. Cone wasn’t far behind carrying 14 points for the Hokies victory. The team found success in the paint, 36 points to be exact, contributing to the Hokies outshooting the Blue Devils 50% to 40%.
The Hokies pushed hard defensively to keep the lead throughout the entirety of the game, enabling themselves to go on several runs which ultimately made the difference down the stretch. Tech was able to contain Duke with the help of 34 rebounds, five blocks and 12 forced turnovers.
Tech came out strong and kept the momentum throughout the half. Radford had the first two points of the game, giving the Hokies a lead that would last the entire 40 minutes of the game. In the first five minutes the Hokies out-scored the Blue Devils 11-2. Later in the half, tech had a 12-point run putting them up by 17, the second biggest lead of the half. Led by Radford’s 14 points and eight rebounds, the Hokies had their biggest lead in an ACC contest this season with 18 points when they went up 36-18 with seven minutes remaining in the half. Duke consistently chipped away until they cut the lead to 12, ending the half with the Hokies up 46-34.
The Blue Devils came out ready to fight back and started the final 20 minutes with a nine-point run cutting the Hokies once 12-point lead to six. This run was just the beginning of a physical second half from both teams. Duke cut the Hokies lead to two with just under 14 minutes left in the game. Tech answered with a five-point run, and kept at least a four-point cushion for the remainder of the game. Duke fought back with another run, but the Hokies sealed the deal with a dunk from Justyn Mutts to go up by 10. The final score had the Hokies up 74-67
– The Hokies were able to dominate the Blue Devils in points in the paint (36-26), Points off fastbreaks (15-7), second chance points (10-8), and points off turnovers (13-9) leaving Duke little room to recover.
– Tech’s (15-7) points off fastbreaks tallied right under its season high (16 vs. No. 3 Villanova).
– The Hokies nearly quadrupled the Blue Devils in points off the bench (21-6).
– Tech was able to shut out Duke and gained an 18 point lead, the largest lead against an ACC team this season.
The Hokies will travel to Winston Salem to take on Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3 ACC) on Sunday at 6 p.m ET with coverage available through ACC Network.