Duke looks to rebound against Georgia Tech

Jan. 07, 2014 @ 12:05 AM

DURHAM – Being out of the Associated Press top 10 and winless in the ACC after its first league game are unusual positions for Duke.

Yet that’s where the Blue Devils find themselves as Georgia Tech comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium for an ACC game tonight (7 p.m.., ESPNU).

After a 79-77 loss at ACC newcomer Notre Dame on Saturday, Duke fell to No. 16 in the new poll on Monday. It’s the first time since Nov. 19, 2007, that Duke has been ranked outside the top 10 in the AP poll. The Blue Devils had been in the top 10 for 122 consecutive polls, the second-longest streak in the poll’s history.

The loss to the Irish also marks the first time since the 2006-07 season that Duke (11-3, 0-1) lost its ACC opener.

But those facts don’t make Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory feel any better about this team’s task tonight at Cameron.

“I don’t think there’s ever a good time to play there,” Gregory said. “They are a high-quality team. They play extremely hard and play well together.”

Notre Dame shot 62.5 percent in the second half against Duke, erasing a 10-point Blue Devils lead to pull the upset. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Notre Dame’s solid play on offense – the Irish registered 18 assists – was simply too good for the Blue Devils to handle.

“We played really good defense the start of the second half and then the last 10 minutes we did not play good defense,” Krzyzewski said. “But they played great offense. Sometimes people do things that are better than you. It doesn’t mean everything is wrong that you are doing. A lot of times the other guy does something really right. We could have played better. There is no question about it, but they played really well.”

Duke got strong production on offense from Rodney Hood (27 points) and point guard Quinn Cook (22 points) against Notre Dame. But freshman Jabari Parker had his lowest-scoring game of the season.

Parker scored seven points on 2 of 10 shooting, dropping his team-best scoring average to 20.4 points. His play was so poor that Krzyzewski had Parker on the bench for the final 3:35 as Duke attempted in vain to rally.

Krzyzewski likened Parker’s game to a standout starting pitcher in baseball who gets roughed up for nine runs one game. That pitcher usually responds with several strong starts and Krzyzewski’s hope is Parker does the same starting tonight.

“They are all human beings,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s why no one wins everything. No one plays well all the time. The fact that someone plays well most of the time separates you. This is one of those times when he just didn’t play well and hopefully those are kept at a minimum.”

Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1) dropped its ACC opener 77-61 at Maryland. The Yellow Jackets, one of the stronger rebounding teams in the ACC this season, are suddenly playing without the ACC’s leading rebounder.

Robert Carter, a 6-8 sophomore forward averaging 9.3 rebounds per game, is out indefinitely with torn meniscus cartilage in his knee.

Georgia Tech inserted 6-8 redshirt senior Kammeon Holsey into the starting lineup against Maryland

“Right now that is the option that we are going with,” Gregory said. “Kam has played starter minutes and has had starter production at times.”

Quinton Stephens, a 6-8 freshman forward, added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench at Maryland on Saturday.

“I think he has a chance to be a very good player in this league,” Gregory said.

Rebounding has been an area of concern for Duke this season. The Blue Devils have been outrebounded in all three of their losses, including Saturday when Notre Dame had a 39-30 edge.