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Beyond the arc: Tre Jones homes in on the hive in Duke men's basketball's victory against Georgia Tech

Duke point guard Tre Jones led the Blue Devils in points, assists, rebounds and steals Wednesday night.
Duke point guard Tre Jones led the Blue Devils in points, assists, rebounds and steals Wednesday night.

No. 2 Duke battled its way through a gritty and physical Georgia Tech team for a 73-64 victory, staying undefeated in conference play. The Blue Zone now takes a look at three key takeaways, stats, and looks forward for the Blue Devils:

Three key takeaways:

1. Tre Jones is the difference-maker

Duke’s go-to guard came to play. Jones ignited the offense with critical buckets in both halves while giving his almost routine stellar performance. His picture-perfect stat line included team highs in rebounds, assists, steals and points. While clocking 39 minutes, he had ample time to be selfish but instead moved the ball and finished with as many assists as field goals attempted. His efficient 5-for-7 shooting led the way for Duke’s above-average 51.9 percent rate from the field. A leader in every sense of the word, Jones inspired the Blue Devils to keep up with an imposing Georgia Tech team.

2. Blue Devils lose battle on the boards

By far Duke’s most challenging opponent thus far in ACC play, Georgia Tech used all the momentum it got from its North Carolina victory to fuel this passionate performance. The Yellow Jackets’ physicality was unlike anything the Blue Devils had faced previously. Georgia Tech bested Duke in the paint often. The Yellow Jackets grabbed a stunning 16 offensive rebounds which  turned into easy lay-ins and ultimately outrebounded Duke 39-30. However, as evidenced by the final score, the Blue Devils didn’t let this disadvantage hold them up.

3. Free throwaways

If one flaw can be pointed out in Duke’s night of ferocious competition and strong shooting from the field, it’s that it could not buy a bucket from the charity stripe. No new shortcoming, free throws have been giving the Blue Devils trouble all year in big games. Tonight featured an abysmal 11-for-21 performance from the line which could have alleviated a lot of the pressure that Duke felt in the second half. Even Jones sunk just five of his 10 foul shots.

Three key stats:

10 years

Georgia Tech and Duke have had a lopsided history, especially in the last decade. As of today, Georgia Tech has gone winless against Duke for exactly 10 years—its most recent win came January 9, 2010. The two will not face each other again in the regular season. Most likely, the Yellow Jackets will have to wait until the 2020-21 season to break the streak.

Three matching stat columns

One of the noticeable distinctions in the box score is that Duke and Georgia Tech had the exact same amount of assists, steals, and blocks. Jones contributed the majority of the Blue Devils’ 13 assists while the Yellow Jackets had a more balanced spread. Jones and Michael Devoe each contributed four of their teams’ total eight steals. Finally, Duke had a balanced seven blocks, but on the other side of the court, James Banks III absolutely dominated and took all seven for himself.

Nine points in 13 minutes for AOC

Alex O’Connell didn’t receive many minutes coming off the bench, especially compared to Jordan Goldwire, who played 37 minutes despite not starting. Nevertheless, O’Connell made the most of these minutes, shooting 4-for-6 from the field for an efficient nine points. On his own, O’Connell outscored the entire Georgia Tech bench, which totaled eight points.

Looking forward:

Duke faces Wake Forest this Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Demon Deacons are coming off a tough loss to No. 10 Florida State and will likely bring less competition than the Yellow Jackets. As long as Tre Jones or Cassius Stanley can lock up star guard Brandon Childress, this game should be over much more quickly than the last.

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