CURRY'S JUST TOO HOT TO HANDLE
On one final competitive trip to Cassell Coliseum, the Currys lit up the house on Thursday night.
With his parents – both former Virginia Tech athletes – in attendance, Duke senior guard Seth Curry put on a shooting exhibition that was reminiscent of his famous Hokie father.
Curry made five 3-pointers in the first half and scored 22 points overall as No. 6 Duke took control early and dominated Virginia Tech 88-56 in ACC basketball.
“That first-half display was sensational, one of the better ones,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
It wasn’t the first time, but it’s likely the last, that a Curry will shoot so well at Cassell Coliseum.
Seth’s father, Dell Curry, scored 2,389 points in his Virginia Tech basketball career from 1982-86. His photo and retired No. 30 are on the Cassell Coliseum wall next to the scoreboard.
Sonya Curry, Dell’s wife and Seth’s mother, played volleyball for the Hokies.
With both of his parents sitting behind the Duke bench, Seth Curry set about slicing up his parents’ alma mater.
Seth Curry made five of six 3-point attempts in the first half as he scored 19 points in the first 20 minutes, helping the Blue Devils to 48-28 halftime lead.
“It’s always good to come back here where my dad played and play well and get a win,” Seth Curry said.
Curry finished 6 of 14 from the field, including five of six on 3-pointers, while also handing out two assists.
“Curry came out on fire,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “Before we turned around he had 19 points. He was a tough matchup.”
Fellow senior Mason Plumlee added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Duke (23-3, 10-3 in ACC).
It was quite a final game Cassell for Curry and quite an improvement from his first college game in the building two years ago. As a sophomore in 2011, Curry missed his only two field-goal attempts, going scoreless and fouling out, as Duke lost 64-60.
Last season, Curry made 2 of 7 field goals but hit all six of his free throws for 11 points as the Blue Devils won 75-60 in Blacksburg. But this game, with his dead-eye shooting, offered Virginia Tech one last reminder of what it missed out on when neither Seth nor his older brother, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen, were offered scholarships by the Hokies (11-15, 2-11).
As game day approached, knowing it was the last time Curry would play at Virginia Tech, Krzyzewski talked to Curry about the significance.
“He’s done well most of the time,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s a really good player. So it’s not about making up for anything. I didn’t want him to come in here, with his mom and dad here. It’s a special place. They love Virginia Tech and they should. I said `Just play. Don’t try to do anything different. You’ve been playing great. So just play.’”
About the only down moment for Curry came just before halftime when he was called for a technical foul. Curry drove the lane and had his shot blocked by Jarell Eddie. But Curry ran the ball down it the corner and fired in a 3-pointer as Eddie haplessly chased.
After the ball went in, Curry yelled something to Eddie and was called for the technical foul.
“He said something to me after he blocked my shot,” Curry said. “I said the same thing back to him and I got a tech.”
At Krzyzewski’s insistence, Curry apologized to the referee before the second half began.
“Somebody said something to him but you can’t do that,” Krzyzewski said. “I told him ‘You’re too good of a player to do that.’ But he did it, so he should be punished.”
Duke shot 60 percent in the first half, committing just three turnovers, to blow out the last-place Hokies. The Blue Devils built their first 20-point lead 16 minutes into the game and took a 48-28 lead to intermission.
After Virginia Tech scored the game’s first four points, Curry sank his first two 3-pointers to give Duke a lead it would never relinquish.
Virginia Tech assigned sophomore guard Marquis Rankin to guard Curry. But Rankin picked up two quick fouls and was on the bench before the first official’s timeout.
Curry wasn’t the only Blue Devil to find, and hit, open shots. A Tyler Thornton 3-pointer gave Duke its first double-digit lead at 22-12 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Curry’s fourth 3-pointer of the half put Duke in front 37-17.
Note – For the first time since his right foot injury sidelined him on Jan. 8, Duke senior forward Ryan Kelly is walking without the use of crutches. Kelly is still wearing a protective boot on the foot and has not yet practiced.
But Krzyzewski said the progression away from crutches makes him even more confident that Kelly will return this season.
“We’re more optimistic,” Krzyzewski said. “No timetable, but it’s moving in the right direction. Now we believe we’re going to get him back. It’s just a matter of when.”
No. 6 Duke 88, Va. Tech 56
Percentages: FG .536, FT .762. 3-Point Goals: 12-17, .706 (Curry 5-6, Sulaimon 3-4, Thornton 2-3, Murphy 1-2, Cook 1-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 4 (Mas. Plumlee 3, Mar. Plumlee). Turnovers: 5 (Mas. Plumlee 2, Cook 2, Sulaimon). Steals: 5 (Sulaimon 2, Mar. Plumlee, Curry, Thornton). Technical Fouls: Curry.
|J. Van Zegeren||7||1-4||1-2||1-1||0||4||3|
Percentages: FG .431, FT .786. 3-Point Goals: 1-16, .063 (Green 1-2, Rankin 0-1, Brown 0-2, Johnston 0-2, Wood 0-3, Eddie 0-6). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 4 (Eddie 2, Barksdale, Green). Turnovers: 12 (Brown 3, Wood 3, Green 2, Eddie, Barksdale, Rankin, Raines). Steals: 1 (Brown).
A—7,585. Officials—Doug Sirmons, Ed Corbett, Brian O’Connell.