BLACKSBURG — His team seemingly stunned by Duke’s second-half surge, Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young opted against a momentum-halting timeout.
He told his Hokies to get tough and play on — and that’s just what they did.
Tyrece Radford had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lift No. 20 Virginia Tech over the 19th- ranked Blue Devils 74-67 on Tuesday night.
The double-double was the first of the season for Radford, who helped the Hokies (10-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) jump to an 18-point, first-half lead and hold off Duke’s rally to win for the sixth time in seven games.
“I’ve got a pretty good team,” Young said. “Let’s not beat around the bush. We’ve got a pretty good team. I think we’ve got a chance to be really good.”
The Hokies led from the tip, making six of their first eight shots and shooting 63.3% (19-for-30) in the first half mainly behind Radford, who made 6 of 8 shots in the first 20 minutes.
Duke, though, cut the deficit to 56-55 after Matthew Hurt hit a corner 3-pointer with 13:12 remaining. At that point, Young decided not to call a timeout, letting his team continue to play.
Radford led the way, scoring the game’s next five points, and Duke went scoreless on six consecutive possessions. The Blue Devils got no closer than four the rest of the game.
“I was telling (teammates), ‘We’ve got to go,’ ” Radford said.
“I saw a level of poise,” Young said. “I didn’t want to call time out when Duke took off on us in the second half. Part of that was by design. I wanted to see us figure it out and fight through it.”
Keve Aluma added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Jalen Cone finished with 14 points for Virginia Tech.
Jeremy Roach led Duke (5-3, 3-1) with 22 points. Hurt, the ACC’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, finished with 20.
“They’re really good,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the Hokies. “Mike’s team, they know who they are.
“In the first half, they really hit us hard. They played great defense, really strong, physical. They played tough, and it knocked us back. We have not played in an ACC game like that, our players, especially the freshmen.
“The kid Radford was the best player on the court,” Krzyzewski added. “Double-double, but his intensity, how hard he played really helps their team immensely.”
The Hokies have three wins over ranked teams this season and continue to enhance their NCAA Tournament résumé. But they’ve played just one true road game and only three games away from Cassell Coliseum. That’s going to change, though. They now play five of their next seven on the road, starting Saturday at Wake Forest.
“We’ve got the potential to make a run for it,” Radford said. “We’ve just got to stay level- minded, level-headed, and not get the big head or anything. We’ve just got to stay humble.”