Point guard Zabian Dowdell (center) had a stellar outing in Virginia Tech's losing effort, leading the Hokies with 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting. (AP Photo)
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- We all remember last month how Duke small forward Sean Dockery miraculously nailed that half-court prayer to top the Hokies by a score of 77-75. Well, no acts of God were necessary Thursday night for Dockery, or any other Duke player for that matter, as the Blue Devils came into Cassell Coliseum and handily won over the Hokies 80-67.
Leading the way for Coach Krzyzewski's team was the effective 1-2 punch of shooting guard J.J. Reddick and center Shelden Williams, who both finished with game-high totals of 24 points. All throughout the night, Williams was a force to be reckoned with on the inside, as he was able to continuously manhandle Virginia Tech center Coleman Collins down low.
Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, when Williams wasn't scoring one of his nine baskets, or grabbing one of his 15 rebounds, Reddick was draining jump shots from along the baseline, or taking Hokie defenders to the basket for easy lay-ups. Defensively, Virginia Tech did an average job in defending J.J., as they really didn't force him to take the toughest of shots. I myself would have been much more satisfied with the defensive job put on Reddick if he had consistently been forced into making those spectacular shots that he is so well known for. That was not the case though, as on several occasion, the nation's deadliest sharpshooter could be seen wide open within the three-point arc, and when he was left uncontested, he easily delivered.
Despite coming down with another ACC loss, several bright spots did exist for Seth Greenberg's squad. The most notable of those was the impressive play of point guard Zabian Dowdell, who finished with a team-high 21 points on a respectable 10-for-18 shooting. Using his size to his advantage, the 6'3 junior out of Florida was consistently able to penetrate the Duke defense and sink the easy jumper, or finish around the rim.
Center Coleman Collins also had a respectable night, earning a double-double after finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. As was mentioned earlier though, Collins had his hands full in guarding Williams, and couldn't stop the big man from dominating throughout the game.
Another standout for the Hokies offensively was sophomore forward Deron Washington, who added 12 points and 7 boards before getting ejected late in the second half. Officials threw out Washington after a flagrant foul, and while on the floor, Washington gave one heck of an 'unintentional' kick to Duke forward Lee Melchionni's face. Afterwards, Washington was reported having apologized to Coach K. and Melchionni, claiming it was an innocent act.
With the loss, the Hokies fall to 10-9 on the year and add yet another ACC loss, dropping their conference record to 0-6. Saturday will hopefully serve as a means of grabbing that first coveted win, as Virginia Tech will travel to Winston-Salem desperate for a victory against the struggling Wake Forest Demon Deacons.