Tech talent steals show fromDuke
Hokies’ Radford, Aluma, Cone come up big to hold off Blue Devils
BLACKSBURG— Going into Tuesday night’s Top 25 matchup, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski praised Virginia Tech for playing “as one.” The Hokies went into the game stressing sound team basketball to overcome Duke’s individual talent edge.
But when the game got tight, Tech’s individual talent showed up just fine.
Tyrece Radford, Keve Aluma and Jalen Cone each took turns holding off the No. 19 Blue Devils as the No. 20 Hokies held
on for a 74-67 win, Tech’s third over a ranked foe this season.
“I’ll take nothing away frommy guys. I’ve got good players also that have played a lot of basketball around here now,” coach Mike Young said. “I like myteam and the things each individual brings to the unit.”
Radford scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, helping Tech jump out to an early lead. Aluma got 13 of his 17 in the second half, helping to hold off a Duke surge, and potentially sealing the win with a blocked shot on Jeremy Roach with 1:25 to go.
And Cone, as he has in the past three games, couldn’t be guarded at times on the perimeter, finishing 3 for 5 from 3-point range and contributing 14 points.
“I’ve got a pretty good team,” Young said. “Let’s not beat around the bush. We’ve got a pretty good team. I think we have a chance to be really good.”
Roach led Duke with a game-high 22 points and forward Matthew Hurt added 20.
Tech (10-2, 4-1 ACC) led by as many as 18 in the first half, but the Blue Devils drew to 68-64 after a pair of free throws by Roach with 2:34 to play.
For the first time this season, Cassell Coliseum hosted a Top 25 matchup, with both Tech and Duke (5-3, 3-1) in the national rankings this week. Tech drew its largest home crowd this year, using almost all of its 250 capacity limit of family and friends of players and staff.
Virginia Tech came out aggressively on both ends of the floor, forcing five turnovers in the first nine minutes and shooting well. The Hokies hit six of their first eight shots,
including all three of their 3-point attempts, to jump out to a 17-7 lead.
A 12-0 run, fueled by Cone and Aluma, pushed Tech’s advantage to 29-12 midway through the first half.
Duke outscored the Hokies 18-10 during the
half’s final seven minutes, but Radford made sure the home team kept the lead during that time, scoring all 10 of Tech’s points.
The Blue Devils trailed 46-34 at halftime.
They opened the second half with a vengeance, using a 6-0 run to pull to 46-40 early in the period.
Duke’s leading scorer, Hurt, held in check for the first half, scored 8 straight — hitting two 3-pointers and a 12-foot fadeaway jumper, to trim Tech’s edge to 56-55 with 13:21 left.
But on the other side, the Hokies’ leading scorer — Aluma— was going to work as well. He scored 7 in a row to help Tech keep the lead.
After outrebounding Notre Dame 41-24 in awin Sunday, Young noted the importance that statistic would have Tuesday night against the Blue Devils.
And his players heeded his call, remaining competitive on the glass throughout the game. Tech outrebounded Duke 34-33.
Former Episcopal star Henry Coleman, a freshman at Duke, didn’t make the trip with the Blue Devils. Coleman is ill, though he has tested negative for COVID-19.
The Hokies play at Wake Forest on Sunday night. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @RTD_MikeBarber