Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/10/12
ATLANTA --- The Duke Blue Devils may not have put forth their best performance of the season Friday, but they advanced to the semifinals of the 59th ACC Tournament nonetheless. The second seed, Duke ousted No. 9 Virginia Tech 60-56 on an evening neither team could find its stride or stroke. Tyler Thornton had perhaps his best game as a Blue Devil scoring 13 points and paying an excellent floor game. Duke improved to 27-5 while the Hokies dropped to 16-17. Here are both teams' grades for their performances Friday: VT offense: The Hokies made just 16 of 53 shot attempts (30.2 percent), yet made half of their 12 3-point attempts. Thus, Tech was 10-for-41 from inside the arc. The Hokies that started combined to convert only 10 baskets in 159 game minutes. Duke played well defensively, but Virginia Tech was just awful on offense. Of course, running poor sets time and time again didn't help, either. Grade: F-. Duke offense: The Blue Devils weren't a whole lot better than the Hokies, though they did shoot 37 percent from the floor. That was brought down by a 5-for-26 (19.2 percent) night from beyond the arc. Duke's flow was clearly affected by not having Ryan Kelly, who is out for the tournament. Thornton was 5-16 from the field, but at least he was confident and his some shots when others weren't. Grade: D. VT defense: Nice job keeping Rivers from driving and getting him a bit frustrated. VPI also didn't let Duke go off from the perimeter. Incredibly, the rebounding was even despite Tech failing to box out much of the evening, notably on the defensive end. If only the Hokies could hit a few more shots this defensive effort would have been worthy of a victory. Grade: A. Duke defense: Duke did an outstanding job keeping the Hokies from hitting shots, but at the same time, Tech ran so many head-scratching sets and took a lot of questionable shots. Duke still stopped them, keeping Tech to 30.2 percent from the floor. Grade: A. VT intangibles: As always, the Hokies fought hard and never gave up. Duke looked primed to put them away, but the feisty Hokies didn't allow it. They were even on the glass (actually had two more offensive rebounds). But, the Hokies didn't execute nor did they play smart basketball for much of the evening. Grade: C. Duke intangibles: Thornton alone did so many little things that help a team win, he will help Duke's grade. The Blue Devils battled, as usual, and made plays when they had to. Hitting 15 of 18 free throws, including 4 of 5 from Mason Plumlee, were also very big. Grade: B.
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