Even with future Top-5 picks RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish leading the charge, Mike Krzyzewski's No. 3 Blue Devils fell once again to an ACC foe, this time to the stingy defense of Buzz Williams and No. 20 Virginia Tech by a score of 77-72 in Blacksburg.
Down goes Duke!— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 27, 2019
RJ Barrett's 21 PTS not enough as No. 20 Virginia Tech holds off No. 3 Duke, 77-72 pic.twitter.com/0xDWHqyg8u
Williamson's presence inside was sorely missed, as Tech's Kerry Blackshear ate Duke alive in the paint, recording 23 points and 9 rebounds. Future first-round pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker also added 13 points from the wing.
Duke put forth a valiant effort without Williamson, as Barrett and Reddish poured in 21 and 17 points, respectively. Backup center Marques Bolden impressed with 14 points, but it wasn't enough to salvage a win for Duke.
Look at how bad Duke is without Zion he’s obviously the best player in College Basketball— Louis (follows back) (@LouisLA14) February 27, 2019
What ultimately doomed Duke again, and what will continue to doom them is their lack of depth and experience. With so many freshman and depth players that struggle on a consistent basis, deep, savvy teams like Virginia Tech can beat up on them.
Hopefully Williamson can return soon, because Duke doesn't have the same fear factor with him on the bench. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the Hokies. They may just bust some brackets due to their terrific defense and shooting.
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