for this game

Balanced attack leads Duke past Georgia Tech

Feb 28, 2008 - 6:38 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Despite one of its worst shooting games from the arc, Duke still had enough to beat Georgia Tech.

Gerald Henderson and DeMarcus Nelson each scored 15 points as the sixth-ranked Blue Devils held off the Yellow Jackets, 71-58, in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup on Wednesday.

Freshman Kyle Singler added 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals for Duke, which also snapped a two-game conference losing streak.

"It was a strong game between two really good defensive teams," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I thought it was one of the best defensive performances that our team's had all year. I thought both teams played so darn hard tonight. It was tough to make passes, let alone make shots."

One of the top scoring teams in the nation coming into the game, the Blue Devils had averaged 9.4 3-pointers per contest.

But the Blue Devils (24-3, 11-2 ACC) made a season-low 2-of-15 from the arc Wednesday, relying on their defense and balanced attack to pull away from the Yellow Jackets.

"You have to give credit to their defense for that," Krzyzewski said. "Our window of opportunity to shoot the three was small. We had to get it and get rid of it quick because they were out there."

The teams went back-and-forth for the opening 11 minutes before the Blue Devils used a 12-0 run to take a 30-19 lead with 4:42 left in the first half.

Georgia Tech (11-15, 4-8) closed within 33-27 at the break, but Duke pushed the lead back up to 44-34 on a jumper by Jon Scheyer with 13:37 remaining.

"I felt like our guys worked extremely hard," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "We had a lot of looks around the rim, especially early. We had three or four layups off of offensive rebounds and we have to put ourselves in position to stick those back in."

The Yellow Jackets never got closer than six after that and the Blue Devils later took their largest lead at 60-46 on Greg Paulus' layup with 7:16 remaining. Duke cruised to the finish from there on out.

Georgia Tech committed 20 turnovers and shot 38 percent (23-of-61) from the field, unable to capitalize on Duke's poor outside shooting.

"To get 20 turnovers against just three assists, that means passing was really hard tonight," Krzyzewski said. "We've been working on that, contesting passing lanes."

It was career victory No. 799 for Krzyzewski, who will have his first try at 800 when Duke plays at North Carolina State on Saturday.

"I wasn't even aware of how many wins it was, but we're going to want it just as bad regardless of what win it was for him," Scheyer said. "Obviously that gives us a little something extra, but we know going into NC State on Saturday it's a huge game no matter what."

Matt Causey and freshman Gani Lawal each scored 10 points to lead the Yellow Jackets, who have now lost five straight games.