Duke is learning that playing basketball at your opponent’s venue can be tough going.
Two games on the road have resulted in two straight losses for the Blue Devils, most recently falling to a scrappy Georgia Tech team 72-68. Baye Ndongo led the way for the Yellow Jackets, including a big time alley oop dunk with under a minute left to put an exclamation point on the upset win. Miles Kelly had 16 points, and Kowacie Reeves Jr. added 14.
The Blue Devils also had balanced contributions, with guard Jeremy Roach getting 20 points, followed by Kyle Filipowski and Caleb Foster with 12 points apiece. Duke overcame a slow start to take the lead late with a couple of minutes left. In the final minutes of the game, they were attacking the basket and getting rewarded with layups and dunks. That all came to a screeching halt with about two minutes left in the contest when Mark Mitchell picked up a technical foul for taunting following said dunk. That sequence really stung, with Georgia Tech calmly hitting both free throws to tie the game, then getting a good shot and a basket to reclaim the lead for good.
On the road, a common ill for many teams are turnovers and unforced errors. Duke actually managed the hostile crowd well in that respect, with only 6 turnovers. However, poor 3 point shooting continues to plague with team, going only 4-16 from long distance for a paltry 25%. Georgia Tech didn’t fare much better at 30%, but they hit 7 3-pointers in the contest. Also, the Yellow Jackets shot a solid 11-13 from the foul line, and Duke left some points out there by only hitting 12-20.
Duke has made quite a living for itself with strong performances at home in Cameron Indoor Stadium, as well as neutral court sites. On the road, though, is a different story. Like just about every other basketball player in the world, a tough crowd can definitely shake these Blue Devils off their game.
Duke is going to have a full week off until resuming action against Charlotte on December 9. Depending on how you look at it, that’s a whole week to get some solid practice team and fine-tune the team, or that’s a looooong time to stew in a two game losing skid. We’ll see how Jon Scheyer and Co. responds against the 49ers in a game that will likely be heavily favored to the home team.