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January 26, 2006

Duke bounces back

J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and No. 2 Duke didn't stay down for long, and Virginia Tech didn't have a chance in its rematch against the Blue Devils.

Williams had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the first game since his four-point performance in a loss to Georgetown and Redick added 24 points in his final college game in his home state as the Blue Devils beat reeling Virginia Tech 80-67 Thursday night.

"We came here today trying to rekindle our swagger and play like we know how we can play," said Williams, who made nine of 14 shots in his first chance to atone for his poor play in the Blue Devils' 87-84 loss at Georgetown on Saturday.

"I know I didn't play to my abilities on Saturday and that's something that if that occurs, I always want to come out the next game and try to make up for it."

Duke (18-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell out of the top spot in the polls after the loss, but had a much easier time with the Hokies than in December. Then, Sean Dockery rescued the Blue Devils, 77-75, with an improbable 40-footer at the buzzer.

"Certainly we were playing with a purpose. We had extra motivation, coming off a loss," Redick said, "but I think they were the same way."

The Hokies (10-9, 0-6) should have expected the Blue Devils' best. Not only had Duke just lost, but Virginia Tech earned a stunning last minute victory here a year ago, then almost made it two wins in a row in the series at Duke on Dec. 4.

But this time, with Williams and Redick doing their things, it wasn't as close.

"We played better and we didn't let up," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, noting that last time his team blew an 11-point lead late, leading to Dockery's shot.

The Blue Devils led 43-30 at halftime on the strength of two runs -- 10-4 early in the half and 13-5 late. Then they opened the second half on a 13-3 burst to lead 56-33.

For the Hokies, the game was the continuation of a harsh start to ACC play. They lost their first four league games by a total of 16 points, and have a myriad of off-the-court issues to deal with. Almost immediately after the game, center Coleman Collins left to drive to Atlanta, where his father is gravely ill with lung cancer.

Collins is not expected back for Saturday's game at Wake Forest, coach Seth Greenberg said, and he's not sure when the Hokies' best inside player will return.

"He'll come back when he's ready to come back," Greenberg said.

Also, forward Deron Washington was ejected with 1:30 left after appearing to drive his foot into the face of Lee Melchionni when both were laying on the floor.

The officials released a statement afterward saying, through replay, they determined the kick was a "combative action" and the matter will be reviewed by the league office. Greenberg said he's not ready to say if he'll take additional action.

"That's by far no reflection of the quality of person that Deron Washington is, his character," he said. "It's probably more a reflection of some frustration."

Washington and Greenberg went to the Duke locker room afterward and apologized.

Zabian Dowdell scored 21 to lead the Hokies. Collins added 13 and 10 rebounds, but missed nine of his 13 shots, and Washington scored 12.

Redick, who starred about 40 minutes away at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, was jeered often, except by a number of girls holding signs proposing marriage.

After scoring 41 points in the loss to Georgetown, Redick missed 10 of his 17 shots, but often seemed content to let the offense go through Williams down low.

"It was great to see other guys step up," Redick said.

The game got ugly at the end. With Duke leading 76-62, Melchionni fouled Washington. It was Melchionni's fifth personal, disqualifying him, and Washington also got tossed when review showed his foot making contact with Melchionni's face.

Chris Tucker shot the free throws for Washington, who was 0-for-3 at the line, and Tucker followed suit, missing them both. Virginia Tech was 10-for-22 at the line.

Redick made both technical shots at the other end.


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