The senior scored early and often as the sixth-ranked Blue Devils pummeled the Hokies, 88-56, in a game that was out of reach before halftime. Curry finished with 22 points, including 19 in the first half when he hit five of six three-pointers to ignite the rout.
After Virginia Tech scored the game’s first four points, Curry knocked down two three-pointers in a row and punctuated the red-hot start by nailing his fifth three-pointer in the face of Virginia Tech’s Jarell Eddie. The shot came moments after Eddie had blocked a layup attempt by Curry.
So as ran back up court, Curry then shouted in Eddie’s face, drawing a technical foul from referee Ed Corbett. By that point, though, Duke’s lead had surged to 20 and no amount of help from the officials could save Virginia Tech (11-15, 2-11) from its ninth straight defeat.
“My fault. I couldn’t help myself,” Curry told Corbett before the second half began.
“He said something after he blocked my shot and I said the same thing back,” he added after the game. “The first two times I played bad [at Virginia Tech], so I wanted to play well.”
Curry had connected on just two of his nine field goal attempts during two previous games at Cassell Coliseum and committed a costly turnover in the final seconds when Virginia Tech upset then-No. 1 Duke back in 2011.
But a dreadful defensive showing by the Hokies made certain Curry would have no such trouble Thursday. Virginia Tech, which suffered its most lopsided loss in ACC play this year, routinely left Duke’s shooters open on the perimeter and it quickly took a raucous crowd out of the game.
Coming off a loss at Maryland last Saturday, the Blue Devils (23-3, 10-3) hit 12 three-pointers, and finished the contest shooting 53.6 percent from the field. It’s the 19th time this season the Hokies have allowed an opponent to hit at least seven three-pointers.
“We were not good at all,” Virginia Tech Coach James Johnson said.
The Hokies’ offense wasn’t much better. They were 1 of 16 from three-point range and the lone bright spots were point guard Erick Green (22 points) and sophomore C.J. Barksdale (career-high 14 points and eight rebounds).
But following another defeat, frustration got the best of Green, the nation’s leading scorer, and he unloaded on the lack of effort from some of his teammates.
“I just don’t get it, how you don’t have that, my family always calls it that dog in you. That thing that comes out when you’ve got heart,” he said. “We just looked so dead out there. We were just out there getting our butts whipped.”
Duke center Mason Plumlee, who is competing with Green for ACC player of the year this season, scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. All-Met Josh Hairston (Montrose Christian) registered a season-high 11 points.
This night, though, belonged to Curry and the redemption he sought in the arena where his father once starred. Before the game, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski reminded Curry this would be his final time playing at Cassell Coliseum, but that he should “just play.” The senior then responded with a first-half onslaught that Krzyzewski described as “spectacular.”
“By the way,” the coach noted with a wry smile when it was over. “We know who his daddy is. He was sitting right behind the bench. He’s in the rafters, too.”