Any concerns about the men's basketball team looking past Georgia Tech Sunday were erased less than two minutes into the game.
As a result, the countdown can begin for Thursday night, when No. 1 Duke meets No. 2 UNC in Chapel Hill.
Trajan Langdon hit two three-pointers and Mike Chappell added another as Duke (20-1, 9-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) scored the first nine points and ran away to an uneventful 90-69 win over the Yellow Jackets (13-8, 2-6) in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"We weren't concerned about Thursday today," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That would be like us not giving respect to a really good team. We're really pleased with the win today. I thought Georgia Tech played extremely well."
Langdon finished with 17 points and Roshown McLeod scored a game-high 23, preventing Georgia Tech from getting any closer than seven after Duke's opening 9-0 spurt.
The Blue Devils shot 55 percent for the first half and hit on 9-of-14 three pointers in surging to a 51-37 halftime lead. Duke also forced 12 turnovers and outscored the Yellow Jackets 18-2 in points off giveaways. Steve Wojciechowski dished out six assists in the first 20 minutes.
"It's just a matter of what the defense gives us," Langdon said. "We were hitting our threes in the first half, but if we had needed to go inside, we'd go inside. We don't come out planning to shoot everything from the outside."
Georgia Tech opened the second half with six points, four from Matt Harpring, to cut Duke's lead to eight. Once again, the Blue Devils responded.
Langdon and William Avery chipped in six apiece on a 16-5 Duke run that opened up a 67-48 lead. Georgia Tech never got closer than 14 again, as Chris Carrawell scored seven of his 12 points down the stretch-if it can be called the stretch.
"They're a great team," Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said. "They play really, really hard. I thought we had some openings. The turnovers really killed us. When you come in and play a team like this here, and you have the opening, you've got to get it."
A key for the Blue Devils was the play of their freshmen versus those from Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets start three freshmen, Alvin Jones, Travis Spivey and Dion Glover.
Jones, the second-leading shot blocker in the nation, fouled out with no points, one rebound and two blocked shots. Glover scored 20, but he and Spivey combined for 13 turnovers and only five assists.
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Duke, on the other hand, got strong performances from all three of its freshmen. Avery and Chris Burgess chipped in offensively, while Shane Battier gave another stellar defensive effort, grabbing six rebounds to go along with three blocks and three steals.
"Burgess played well but because of the matchups with Jones and [Pablo] Machado getting hurt, we had to go small," Krzyzewski said. "In the second half, Avery gave us a huge lift. He had about three or four minutes where he kind of created everything. It wasn't coming as easy during that time, and I think William made it easier."
Duke will now take Monday off to rest and then begin preparation for North Carolina. Sunday's win gave the Blue Devils their best ACC start in 34 years and an 11-game winning streak heading into Chapel Hill.
"This team prides itself on coming to each game ready to play," Mike Chappell said. "Each game counts as an ACC game."
But the significance of the upcoming ACC game was not lost on the players' minds.
"It's going to be a war down there," Battier said.