DURHAM, N.C. – A.J. Griffin attacked the paint for a whistle-drawing basket, then headed toward the sideline to exchange excited high-fives with Duke’s famously rowdy home fans.
After struggling to break loose against Virginia Tech, the second-ranked Blue Devils were showing off their edge behind Griffin, fellow freshman Paolo Banchero and a smaller-ball lineup that powered a second-half burst.
Banchero had 23 points and Duke shot 62% after halftime to beat Virginia Tech 76-65 on Wednesday night, erasing an eight-point deficit early in the second half to win its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Banchero scored 17 points in his dominant second half, fueled by the move to a perimeter-heavy lineup around the versatile 6-foot-10 star freshman. The move changed the flow of the game, both in Duke’s ability to defend ball switches and to get out in transition while slowing Keve Aluma after…