for this game

Duke thumps Georgia Tech, makes case for No. 1

Feb 21, 2011 - 6:30 AM Durham, NC (Sports Network) - Nolan Smith scored 28 points, and No. 5 Duke made its case to be the nation's top team with a 79-57 thumping of Georgia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The four teams in front of Duke in the rankings all lost this week, and the Blue Devils, who spent the first 10 weeks of the season in the No. 1 spot, may regain the post behind their sixth straight victory.

"We just to continue getting better and keep winning basketball games. Being No. 1 right now doesn't matter at all," said Smith. "Last year's (championship) team, we weren't No. 1 until the end. If we get it, it's cool, but we're not worried about it."

Kyle Singler posted 15 points and nine rebounds, while Ryan Kelly netted 10 points for the Blue Devils (25-2, 12-1 ACC), who pushed the nation's longest home winning streak to 34 games.

Maurice Miller and Iman Shumpert led Georgia Tech with 13 points apiece, but the Yellow Jackets (11-15, 3-9) dropped their sixth straight ACC game.

Georgia Tech, which beat unheralded Chattanooga of the Southern Conference on Wednesday, actually led through most of the first 13 minutes of Sunday's game.

But an 8-2 run from Duke, capped by a Seth Curry three-pointer, gave the Blue Devils a 23-22 lead with 6:48 left in the opening half.

It was tied a little later before Duke scored nine consecutive points over the final three minutes, a late Tyler Thornton jumper yielding a 37-28 cushion at the break.

The momentum continued to swing in Duke's favor to start the second half, as Singler and Smith both hit from long range in the first 85 seconds, the latter's pushing the margin to 44-30.

"[Smith's] a great player. He's having a great year. More than likely the player of the year in the league," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt said of the guard.

It was a 20-point game, 57-37, with 14 minutes left following another Smith three-ball, which ignited another 9-0 stretch that all but sealed the game's outcome.

Game Notes

Duke's last loss in the month was on February 15, 2009 at Boston College...Duke has won 54 straight home games against unranked opponents...Georgia Tech fell to 0-9 in true road games this season...Glen Rice, Jr. shot just 4-for-14 from the field and ended with 12 points for the Yellow Jackets, who made only 33 percent of their shots overall...Duke shot 45 percent...Mason Plumlee had nine points and nine rebounds for the Blue Devils.