Sunday, March 1, 2009

GIMME FIVE STEPS: DUKE SHUFFLES PAST HOKIES



No. 7 DUKE 72, No. 66 VIRGINIA TECH 65 – It was ugly.

For most of the game, Virginia Tech couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a beach ball and leading scorer Malcom Delaney put up a whopping two points in the first half. Both teams shot poorly (Duke 42.2 percent, Virginia Tech 41.1 percent), and neither could find their range from behind the arc – Duke finished six of 20 (30 percent) while the Hokies could only manage four out of 12 (25 percent).

But still, Virginia Tech shook off the bad shooting and the 19 turnovers to tie the game late at 58-58. Then that old Duke magic took over yet again.

Clinging to a 68-65 lead, the Blue Devils inbounded the ball to Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer. The new Duke point guard was immediately double teamed for more than the requisite five seconds. To further muddy the waters, replays showed Scheyer doing the “Elliot Williams Dance.” We’re feeling charitable – say four steps, maybe five.

No call. Duke time out. Virginia Tech Foul on the ensuing inbounds. Duke makes both free throws. Game over.

Kyle Singler scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half after foul trouble forced him to watch much of the first half, and he made the Hokies pay for focusing too much on Gerald Henderson.

The Blue Devils (24-5, 10-4 ACC) won their fourth in a row and stayed a game behind ACC-leading North Carolina.

"We want to win this league and we needed to get this win," said John Scheyer, who scored 16 points. "We needed it not only in the league, but going into March, we need wins like this."

Virginia Tech, meantime, is still looking for at least one more victory to boost its tournament credentials, and the Hokies felt like they missed an opportunity after A.D. Vassallo shot them back into the game. He scored 26 points to lead the Hokies (17-11, 7-7), and accounted for all 15 in a 15-4 run that drew them even with six minutes left.

But the Blue Devils outscored the Hokies 14-7 the rest of the way, and coach Seth Greenberg was livid when it was over because of a the non-call on Scheyer.

"We did a great job with the press, get a good trap, and unfortunately could have had a chance to win the game, but the refs didn't see the same walk I saw," Greenberg said.

Vassallo also grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hokies, and Jeff Allen and J.T. Thompson each scored 13. Scoring leader Malcolm Delaney, forced to play point guard in the absence of ailing backup Hank Thorns, missed 10 of 12 shots and scored just seven points but had eight assists.

(Photos by AP Photo/Don Petersen)

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