The Jackets were looking to build off of their home win against Chattanooga when they traveled to Durham, N.C. on Sunday, Feb. 20 to face off against Duke. After their tough road trip, the Jackets then came home on Wednesday, Feb. 23 to face the Virginia Cavaliers. The Jackets’ road woes continued, however, with a rout by the Blue Devils, before coming home to lose a close game to Virginia 62-56.
Tech began the game quickly against Duke, with senior guard Maurice Miller scoring a quick three pointer on the team’s first possession.
The Jackets would temporarily lose their lead when the Blue Devils went up 4-3 early, but after a jumper by sophomore guard Glen Rice Jr., the Jackets would hold a lead through the first 15 minutes of the first half.
Maurice Miller played through a large chunk of the first half, scoring seven of the Jackets first 24 points.
Through the first half, the Jackets defensively forced the Blue Devils to take difficult jump shots. Tech had an 18-13 lead after a technical foul was called on Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The foul would motivate Duke to go on a run through the remainder of the half, outscoring the Jackets 24-10.
After missing several jump shots, the Blue Devils drove the ball into the paint, making easy layups or kicking the ball out for open three-point jumpers. The game was tied at 28-28 with 3:05 in the half until a deep three-point shot was made by Duke.
The Blue Devils would never look back, maintaining their lead through the rest of the game and capping off the half with a 9-0 run. The Jackets went into the locker room with the Jackets trailing, 37-28.
The second half began as the first half ended: with Duke going on a 9-3 run from their first possession. The Jackets struggled to shoot through the game, as junior guard Iman Shumpert went four-of-16 from the field, missing all four of his attempts beyond the arc. Tech finished the game shooting 33.3 percent from the field on the way to losing their sixth straight conference game.
Three Jackets finished scoring in double figures. Shumpert had 13 points and six rebounds for the game, Rice finished with 12 points and Maurice Miller finished with 13 points on five-of-eight shooting with five assists.
Tech struggled to contain Duke’s gurad Nolan Smith, allowing him to break loose for a 28 point day on 50 percent shooting. After breaking open the lead to 27 with 9:11 left in the game, the Blue Devils coasted through the rest of the game, winning by 22, 79-57.
The Jackets returned home three days later to face UVA, hoping to earn their first conference victory since Jan. 25.
The first half started with the Jackets moving the ball well. Both teams shot back and forth, keeping the game within one possession through the first five minutes. Virginia hit a three-pointer with 15:50 left to take a three point lead early, but Tech would respond with a 13-2 run through the next eight minutes.
The Jackets would hold their lead through the half, but the Cavaliers would chip away at their deficit, quietly outscoring the Jackets 14-8 to end the half. Tech went into the locker room up two at the half, 28-26.
Both teams came out scoring in the second half to keep the game close through the first seven minutes. Shumpert hit a pair of three-pointers, and freshman guard Jason Morris hit a pair of jump shots to keep Tech in the game.
The game then kicked into a defensive state, with neither team scoring a point through the next four minutes. Both teams were frequently taking heavily contested shots.
Virginia, down 39-38, then hit a pair of free throws with just under 11 minutes left to begin a series of lead changes through the remainder of the half. Tech responded quickly with a pass by Shumpert that was quickly grabbed and dunked by freshman center Daniel Miller.
Both teams scored back-and-forth until Virginia hit a three-pointer with 6:06 left to tie the game.
The Jackets then struggled to defend any of the Cavaliers offense, as Virginia went on a 9-0 run through the next four minutes to put Tech in a nine-point hole with just over two minutes in the half.
In a thrilling finish, the Jackets then rattled off a 7-1 run to bring the game within one possession with 55 seconds left in the game. Both teams quickly exchanged three-point shots, before Virginia made a foul shot with 15 seconds left to bring their lead to four.
Sophomore guard Mfon Udofia quickly drove the ball up the court, and threw up a shot from beyond the arc while getting fouled and had an opportunity to make three free throw attempts. However, Udofia would miss all three attempts, giving the Cavaliers a 62-55 win.