Precipitation in Durham comes in many forms. May it be a random Thursday morning storm or a night of snowfall, residents know to expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather.
However, it seemed as though nobody alerted Virginia Tech that a different type of rain would fall in Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night at the hands of Tre Jones, Cassius Stanley and company, who used their 3-point prowess to shoot the Hokies out of the gym.
The sixth-ranked Blue Devils utilized their small ball lineup and hot shooting early to bounce back after a horrible loss against North Carolina State, defeating Virginia Tech 88-64. Stanley tallied a game-high 21 points and five triples. Jones’ made triple on the team’s first possession opened the floodgates to an overall 40 percent clip from deep for Duke, and Virginia Tech had no answer.
“It was huge,” Stanley said of the team’s opening run to display dominance early on. “I hit a couple shots and then after that it was just like we were rolling and we got our confidence going. So it’s really just like honing in on that and trying to get that consistently.”
Stanley was the real star of the show, completing highlight after highlight to add to his already illustrious season mixtape. He could not miss from downtown, even hitting a shot from about four feet behind the 3-point line.
“It was a heat check,” Stanley said. “It was like if you’re going, you might as well try it. Why not?”
Whether it’s a fastbreak high-flying jam or even just an offensive rebound, Stanley always looks like he can fly. Stanley’s elite athleticism shone when he rose up at rim level to score a layup to give Duke a 20-point lead in the first half.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski opted to open with a smaller lineup than usual, with Jones, Stanley, Jordan Goldwire and Wendell Moore Jr. in the backcourt and wings, while Vernon Carey Jr. represented the only true big on the floor. This lineup’s main strength is its perimeter defense, as Goldwire and Jones can hound any backcourt in the ACC, and Stanley and Moore’s quickness and size make them able to guard any position 1-to-4. Though this aspect of the lineup went according to plan—the Hokies shot an abysmal 38.1 percent from the floor—its 3-point shooting put the game away early on.
As Jones, Matthew Hurt and Stanley knocked down triple after triple, the Hokies moved their defense away from the basket in order to have better closeout positioning. But with Carey still on the floor, this defensive adjustment served as an early birthday present to the Southwest Ranches, Fla., native, who then had more room to work his 6-foot-10 frame down low.
“[Krzyzewski] just told us to be hungry,” Carey said. “Coach just told us to be hungry and after the game he told us we outrebounded them by almost 20, so I feel like we were the more hungrier team than they [were].”
The Hokies (15-12, 6-10 in the ACC) did not have anybody to match up with Carey one-on-one, allowing ‘Tank’ to ignite the team and the Cameron Crazies with multiple spin-around post move slams. Carey controlled the boards, bringing down nine rebounds overall, also adding to the 3-point mix, knocking down a shot from deep of his own.
It was a complete game for the Blue Devils (23-4, 12-3) Saturday night. The crowd remained loud and energetic from start to finish, Duke’s full-court press suffocated the Hokies and the halftime show from the jump roping Pop Rocks was of the best halftime performances ever seen in Cameron. Alex O’Connell even looked keyed in, with two highlight slam dunks to bring the energy in Cameron to astronomical levels.
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“I think tonight, we showed obviously who we are more than we did on Wednesday,” senior captain Jack White said. “And obviously, it shows our ability to respond to adversity.”
After a horrible outing against the Wolfpack just three days prior, Duke needed this dominant win to get back on track and earn confidence. However, the Blue Devils will head out to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest Tuesday night, hoping to prove that they aren’t just home warriors and that they can execute from start to finish on the road.