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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies hang tough, but fall to No. 2 Duke on the road

The Hokies led by four at halftime.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

For 20 minutes on Wednesday night, it looked like the Virginia Tech Hokies were ripe to pull off an upset of the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils, going into halftime with a 36-32 lead at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Things started well for the Hokies in the second half, as Tech matched Duke in points in the first four minutes, heading into the under-16 timeout with maintaining its four-point lead. Unfortunately for the Hokies, Duke freshman Pablo Banchero got hot, scoring seven points in a row to cut Tech’s lead to one point.

The Hokies would go scoreless for around five minutes as Duke’s offense went on a 13-0 run to take a 47-42 lead — a lead it would never relinquish. Virginia Tech went cold from the floor and looked tired on both ends of the court.

The Blue Devils proved too much for the Hokies and ended up with a 76-65 win. The Hokies fall to 8-5 on the season and 0-2 in ACC play.

Keve Aluma led the Hokies with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Justyn Mutts scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Hunter Cattoor scored 10 for Virginia Tech. It was another disastrous game for Nahiem Alleyne, who went scoreless and missed all four shots from the field.

The Hokies made just one of nine 3-point attempts in the second half.

It was a valiant effort against a Duke team that is arguably the best in the country.

It doesn’t get easier for the Hokies, who are back on Tobacco Road next with a trip to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina.