DURHAM, North Carolina — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was a bit worried about how his young team would respond to a tough midweek win. His 14th-ranked Blue Devils quickly calmed any concerns with a strong start that never gave Virginia Tech a chance.
Marshall Plumlee scored a career-high 21 points and the Blue Devils burst out of the gate with an outside-shooting flurry to beat the Hokies 82-58 on Saturday.
Freshman Brandon Ingram added 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for the Blue Devils (14-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who hit seven 3-pointers in the opening seven minutes to quickly turn the game into a rout.
"When you start out hitting those 3s like that — that boom-boom-boom — that can knock you back," Krzyzewski said.
Duke was coming off a 91-75 win at Wake Forest on Wednesday, though the Blue Devils had to overcome foul trouble to pull away late. But Duke ran out to a 12-2 lead on the way to a 27-point halftime margin Saturday against a team coming off an upset of fourth-ranked Virginia.
"We knew we couldn't really give them confidence," junior Matt Jones said, "so in order to do that we had to come out and play the game we needed to play."
Ingram knocked down 3-pointers — both wide open — from the left wing on Duke's first two possessions to start the Blue Devils' opening run. Duke didn't manage its first basket inside the arc until Plumlee's dunk off an offensive rebound at the 9:31 mark and led 50-23 by halftime.
Zach LeDay had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Virginia Tech, which shot just 28 percent (8 for 29) in that disastrous opening half.
"We did nothing in the first half, offensively or defensively," Hokies coach Buzz Williams said. "I think that's why the score was the way it was. We were overwhelmed. They were way better. They were way tougher."
Virginia Tech: The Hokies were 2-0 in the ACC for just the second time. ... No. 2 scorer Seth Allen came in averaging 14.5 points but finished with three on 1-for-9 shooting. ... Virginia Tech had 15 turnovers that led to 16 points for Duke.
Duke: Duke hit just two 3s after its opening burst. ... Grayson Allen scored 16. ... Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera attended and drew hearty cheers when introduced during a timeout for his visit on a "well-deserved day off." His team went 15-1 to earn a bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. ... Duke held a moment of silence in honor of late former coach Bill Foster, who died this week.
Plumlee, a 7-foot graduate student, has now set his career high in two straight games.
He had 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting at Wake Forest. He followed that by going 6 for 7 from the field and making 9 of 10 free throws — not bad for a guy who came in shooting 56 percent — to go with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
"I'm fortunate to play with some really talented teammates who draw a lot of attention," Plumlee said. "And that leaves openings for myself or other teammates."
HOKIES' OUTSIDE STRUGGLES
The Hokies missed their first 11 3s and finished 1-for-12 from behind the arc. They made 9 of 17 3s in Monday's upset of Virginia.
"I don't necessarily think we're a bad 3-point shooting team, but we have to have all 10 toes (pointing) to the rim and it does need to come off inside-out penetration," Williams said. "It can't just come because we are floating along the perimeter."
Virginia Tech hosts Wake Forest on Wednesday.
Duke travels to Clemson on Wednesday.