Ryan Kelly Dominant as Duke Blue Devils Defeat Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Curtis ClontzCorrespondent IIJanuary 7, 2012

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 12:   Duke Blue Devils Ryan Kelly #34 celebrates his shot against Presbyterian Blue Hose at an NCAA game in Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina. Coach Mike Krzyzewski tied Bobby Knight for 902, the most wins in NCAA Division I basketball.  (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

At tipoff of the ACC regular-season opener, I post the breaking news that Quinn Cook would be the starting PG for the Duke Blue Devils.  The move wasn’t shocking as Duke Nation could see the writing on the wall.  In Duke’s loss to Temple, one of the biggest problem areas was the point guard position.

Saturday’s game was supposed to be one where Duke would continue to tweak the offense in hopes of finding the perfect recipe for the upcoming schedule.  It looked like Duke came ready to play, but their lack of a killer instinct showed as they let an 18-point lead slip away.

The lead slipped away, and Tech battled back behind the exceptional play of Glen Rice Jr. who finished with 28 on the day.  He was the leader for the Yellow Jackets today as he almost single-handedly kept them in the game late into the second half.

The surprising bright spot from the Devils was Ryan Kelly.  Kelly has been up and down all season but came ready to play in this one.  Kelly didn’t start, but he did play 27 minutes and led all Duke scorers with a career-high 21 points.  The key stat for Kelly was his free-throw shooting.  He was an impressive 14-14 from the charity stripe and hit several key free throws down the stretch that held Georgia Tech at bay.

Helping Kelly carry the Blue Devils was sharp shooter Seth Curry.  Curry went 5-12 from the floor but was able to tally 15 points with two made three pointers.  Although Curry didn’t play bad on the day, he's starting to make people wonder if he's the leader everyone thought he was.  

This was supposed to be Curry’s year.  This was his chance to put the team on his shoulders and become Duke’s superstar.  At this point, such a move would be a huge shock for the crazies.

Duke’s dissapearing man Andre Dawkins remained in hiding as he seems to have lost his stroke.  He only scored six points as he went 1-5 not the day.  This team needs Dawkins to be a spark plug off of the bench.  His points off the pine are extremely important, and if he can’t get out of this slump, then this could be a long year for the Hampton Roads native.

Up next for Duke will be the third-best team in the ACC.  Virginia will head south and invade Cameron Indoor Stadium as they hope to prove that they are for real.  As the only ACC team ranked (outside of UNC and Duke), Virginia has played extremely well behind the play of senior Mike Scott.  

The Cavaliers are 13-1 on the season, and with a win over Miami, they have won 12 straight games and are one of the most confident teams in the ACC.