ATLANTA (AP) -- As he watched J.J. Redick struggle to find his
jump shot, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski could still see everything
falling into place.
"I don't think he's ever been 2-of-17, but we just believe that
the next shot is your first shot," Krzyzewski said. "To me,
that's mental toughness."
Shelden Williams had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Redick
overcame a horrid start to score 22 points as the top-ranked Blue
Devils beat Georgia Tech 73-66 on Wednesday night.
The victory gave Duke its 11th Atlantic Coast Conference
regular-season title under Krzyzewski, but the focus was on Redick,
who entered the game with a chance to become the league's career
Redick missed 15 of his first 17 shots, but he did hit the
go-ahead jumper with 8:51 remaining.
After Jeremis Smith's fastbreak jam gave Georgia Tech a 51-47
lead nearly 3 minutes earlier, Redick missed a 2-foot runner, a
jumper inside the free throw line and a fastbreak layup that Josh
McRoberts put back to tie it at 53-all with 9:34 to play.
"I never really lost my confidence," Redick said. "I did feel
a little pressure. When I missed that layup, I said that it can't
get any worse."
Redick needs nine points to break the ACC mark of 2,587 set by
Wake Forest's Dickie Hemric 51 years ago. The Blue Devils' next
game is Saturday in Philadelphia against Temple.
Duke (26-1, 14-0) has won 20 of 21 games against Georgia Tech
since losing in Atlanta 10 years ago. The Yellow Jackets (10-15,
3-11) have lost three straight overall and are 1-11 since beating
Centenary last month.
Tech coach Paul Hewitt was despondent that Redick went 11-for-12
from the free throw line.
"When you have a player of J.J. Redick's caliber, who's
obviously having a tough night by evidence of some of the easy
shots he missed, you can't bail him out by putting him on the foul
line," Hewitt said. "We committed some pretty bad fouls. You
can't do those things."
Williams kept the Blue Devils close with an eight-point barrage
after Smith's layup gave Georgia Tech an 11-point lead 1:31 into
the second half. A putback of Redick's missed 3-pointer cut the
lead to eight before Williams took Greg Paulus' bounce pass and
jammed to bring Duke within two with 14:07 to go.
"He missed a few shots early, but he came up big for us in the
second half," Williams said of Redick. "When you miss shots, you
have to keep shooting. He missed a lot of shots that usually go in.
In the end, it was the same old J.J."
The signature moment came when McRoberts, a 6-foot-10 freshman
forward, stole a pass and dribbled twice behind his back as he
drove past the halfcourt line. Seeing Redick coming up the right
side, McRoberts fed the senior guard, who buried an 18-footer to
give Duke a 55-53 lead it never relinquished.
Redick, the NCAA's career leader in 3-pointers, hit a 25-footer
on the next possession and followed that with two free throws that
ended a 24-6 run. Georgia Tech missed nine of 12 shots and
committed nine turnovers during the stretch that spanned 12:02.
Smith finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Ra'Sean
Dickey added 14 points and Zam Fredrick had nine assists and nine
Krzyzewski passed Phog Allen for 11th place on the career
coaching list with his 747th victory. Krzyzewski improved to 42-16
against Tech overall and 105-9 against unranked ACC teams over the
last nine years.
"Shelden and J.J. are now 110-20 in their careers, and that's a
great record in itself," Krzyzewski said. "But if you can be a
regular-season camp, a [conference] tournament champ -- both, maybe
-- this is a great league, and it's an accomplishment."
Hewitt, who dropped to 1-12 against the Blue Devils, didn't need
anyone to remind him that the Yellow Jackets allowed 22 points off
their 20 turnovers.
"If you've got any answers," Hewitt said, "I've got a
suggestion box outside."