Virginia Tech knocks off No. 5 Duke in ACC opener

NEW YORK NY- DECEMBER 06 Duke Blue Devils guard Luke Kennard during the first half of the NCAA mens basketball between the Duke Blue Devils and the Florida Gators

Chants of "overrated" reverberated through the crowd during the closing stretch, as Virginia Tech fans realized they had just upended the No. 5 team in the country. Duke has had Virginia Tech's number - well, they've had everyone's number - over the last several years, but the Hokies ran the Blue Devils out of the building.

Duke (12-2, 0-1) never reduced the deficit below double-digits in the second half.

After Duke cut a 16-point halftime lead to 11, Bibbs ripped off seven straight points after the second-half under-16 media timeout and like his teammates had no problem getting to the lane throughout the afternoon.

Duke played without junior guard and preseason All-America Grayson Allen, who watched from the bench after he was suspended indefinitely by the program after another tripping incident ten-days ago for the third such incident in his career. Justin Bibbs led the scoring with 18 points while making 6 of his 9 shot attempts.

Credit Virginia Tech for exploiting Duke's weaknesses, but the Blue Devils' lack of effort was alarming too.

Clarke, one of the best players on Virginia Tech's team, had a quiet first half, but he made his presence felt late in the game. Not only did they make an improbable eight-game leap in the league standings last season, they also appear to be poised to take another step forward this year.

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The Blue Devils' strong 13-1 start includes victories over Michigan State and Florida, among others, with their lone blemish coming against Kansas by two in a neutral site game at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Marques Bolden is still working his way back into shape after sitting out the first month of the season and has scarcely played in recent games.

Freshman Jayson Tatum nailed a 3-pointer from Matt Jones on a possession featuring good ball movement, but it wasn't almost enough down 24-17 and struggling to find offense.

Jayson Tatum has been the best of the quartet, but even though he's piling up points and rebounds, he's still shooting below 40 percent from the field.

All told, the Blue Devils are at a turning point in the campaign.