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Duke owned Virginia Tech on backboards

Virginia Tech played well Sunday night in Durham. But one glaring deficiency in the Hokies' 67-55 loss to No. 6 Duke was its inability to compete with the Blue Devils in the paint.

Led by 7-foot-1 center Brian Zoubek, the Blue Devils out-rebounded the Hokies by 47-38 and scored 27 second-chance baskets as a result of that disparity on the backboards. Zoubek led Duke with 16 rebounds.

"He's a mountain masquerading as a man," Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said of Zoubek. "The guy is a huge human being. He gives you a little pop and he creates space to rebound the ball, and he's not too far from the basked once he rebounds it."

Zoubek dwarfed Virginia Tech forwards Victor Davila (6-8) and Jeff Allen (6-7). But the Hokies were hurt by Allen's foul trouble; he played only 19 minutes and sat for all but 4 minutes in the first half.

Zoubek highlighted his night with a pivotal three-point play. He grabbed an offensive rebound, connected on a putback and was fouled by Allen. Zoubek made the free throw to give the Blue Devils a 52-47 lead with 7:09 left. The crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium went mad after the crucial sequence, and the Blue Devils pulled away to win the game.

"Our identity this year is not like most Duke teams," Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "It's rebounding and defense."

Duke was able to overcome 29 percent shooting from the field thanks to the disparity on the glass, which often turned into easy second-chance baskets.

By Mark Viera  |  February 22, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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