DURHAM, N.C. -- Virginia Tech wasn’t the same team that upset No. 4 Virginia a week ago, mainly because it wasn’t playing in the same venue. The Hokies played inspired at home but came out flat on the road.
Obviously Duke doesn’t lose much at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but that especially holds true when it can limit its opponent to just one 3-pointer.
The Hokies didn’t make a 3-pointer until four minutes remained in the game, which kept their 12-year streak of making at least one 3-pointer alive but did nothing to help them pull off a second win against a ranked team this week. Virginia Tech finished 1-of-12 from 3-point range and the Blue Devils never trailed en route to an 82-58 victory.
No longer streaky
Even when Duke forward Amile Jefferson rejoins the lineup -- which is still possibly another few weeks off because of a right foot injury -- the strength of the team is on the perimeter.
Brandon Ingram has helped solidify that by improving his 3-point shooting. His first seven games this season he shot just 24 percent from 3-point range. Over the past nine games, including his 3-for-6 performance against the Hokies, he has made 24 of 53 (45.2 percent) from behind the arc.
Some of that could change when Jefferson returns. Ingram, like Justise Winslow for Duke last season, has been able to exploit mismatches when he plays power forward. Ingram will move back to power forward when Jefferson is healthy.
There was a play in the first half that reflected just how far Duke senior Marshall Plumlee has come. He got the ball on the right side and his shot sailed over the rim without touching anything. He kept after the ball, collected it on the left side of the basket and dunked it. Plumlee scored a career-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds.
He used to be the type of player who would make any coach nervous to play. Now he is one of Duke's most consistent players. Remember back against Kentucky when no one else seemed to be able to score? Plumlee had 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. With Jefferson out of the lineup, the pressure has been on Plumlee to stay out of foul trouble and deliver rebounding and defense. He has done his part and the Blue Devils are better because of it.
Jeter's slow progress
The struggles of Duke freshman center Chase Jeter are well documented and similar to Kentucky's Skal Labissiere. Both were highly rated in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2015, and both have had difficulties staying on the court. So when Jeter drew a charge in the first half right before a media timeout, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was so happy, he nearly choked the 7-footer when he reached up to try and hug Jeter in the huddle.
Jeter has averaged just 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game. The Blue Devils have been patiently waiting for him to show signs that he has turned the corner, so when he makes plays that show some awareness, they make it a point to show encouragement.