Georgia Tech overwhelmed by No. 5 Duke, 68-51
ATLANTA (AP) — Even with a roster that is filling out with the return of injured players, Georgia Tech had no answer for Duke freshman Jabari Parker.
Parker had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 5 Duke rolled past Georgia Tech 68-51 on Tuesday night.
Playing in his third game since his return from knee surgery, forward Robert Carter Jr. led Georgia Tech with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory also was encouraged that Trae Golden, recovering from a groin injury, logged 17 minutes.
“I think we’re one step closer after tonight in getting as whole as we possibly can for the remainder of the season,” Gregory said.
Still Georgia Tech (13-13, 4-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) didn’t have an answer for Parker or Duke’s defensive intensity.
Georgia Tech, which trailed by only one point at halftime of its 79-57 loss at Duke on Jan. 7, trailed 43-27 at the break of the rematch.
“Give Duke a ton of credit,” Gregory said. “They came very focused and came with great force on the defensive end. They have improved tremendously since the first time we played them.”
Kammeon Holsey had 12, and Chris Bolden added 10.
Rodney Hood sank four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for Duke, which never trailed. The Blue Devils (21-5, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won four straight and nine of 10.
Like most teams, Georgia Tech struggled to match up with the 6-foot-8 Parker.
“Unless you have a strong chest in front of him, you have no chance. No chance,” Gregory said. “There’s no question what he’s going to do when he gets the ball.
“The way he drives, it’s impossible not to have contact. It’s a foul every time.”
Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller had nine rebounds but only two points.
“He didn’t get the ball that much because our perimeter defense was the best it has been all year,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Duke started strong, kept up the defensive pressure, and kept its lead in double figures for the final 28 minutes.
“Our guys played a heck of a first half,” Krzyzewski said. “I mean we played with amazing energy and focus.”
Duke is in a hectic run of four games in eight days. The Blue Devils will play at North Carolina on Thursday before facing No. 1 Syracuse on Saturday. The North Carolina game was postponed on Feb. 12 because of a winter storm.
The stretch began with a win at Maryland on Saturday.
“We haven’t even talked about those two games, so there’s no buildup for us,” Krzyzewski said. “We respect the heck out of Georgia Tech.”
Duke scored 16 points off Georgia Tech’s 13 turnovers, including five by freshman guard Corey Heyward.
“I think our defense transitioned to offense,” Parker said. “We were able to get stops and able to score, so we put ourselves in a good situation.”
Duke led 50-30 early in the second half before the Yellow Jackets cut the deficit to 52-40.
Hood’s 3-pointer, followed by Parker’s offensive rebound, basket and free throw for a three-point play, pushed the Blue Devils’ edge back to 18 points.
Georgia Tech couldn’t muster another comeback attempt.
After making only five of 24 3-pointers in Saturday’s 69-67 home win over Maryland, Duke made 10 of 18 3s against the Yellow Jackets. The Blue Devils, who lead the ACC in 3-point shooting, made six of their first eight 3s — including three by Hood — and pulled ahead 34-16.
Duke, which has lost twice on the road to unranked conference opponents Notre Dame and Clemson, was 3-3 in ACC road games before Tuesday.
Parker, who recorded the ninth double-double of his rookie season, and Hood helped make sure the Blue Devils were sharp early. Hood had three 3-pointers in the first six minutes, and the Blue Devils led 38-19.
Rasheed Sulaimon had 11 points for Duke.
The crowd of 8,600 was Georgia Tech’s first sellout of the season.