ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's Mario West stands between J.J. Redick and history.
Duke's senior guard needs 31 more points to become the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time leading scorer. Barring injury, he will surpass Wake Forest's Dickie Hemric sometime in the top-ranked Blue Devils' last four regular-season games.
His first chance is tonight, against West and the Yellow Jackets at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. And considering Redick has scored 31 or more in seven of Duke's past 11 games, many - including ESPN, which will televise the game - expect the record to fall in Atlanta.
West won't debate them. He won't talk trash about how the Jackets will shut Redick down. He takes the opposite tack.
"I have a lot of respect for him," said West, who helped shadow Redick in three meetings a year ago. "I'm going to have my hands full, but I'm looking forward to it."
Only West would be eager for a night fighting through screens and chasing around the college basketball equivalent of the Energizer bunny. West is a closet sadist who began his Georgia Tech career as a walk-on and earned a scholarship by collecting floor burns the way teammate Jeremis Smith does tattoos.
West might be one of the few players in the country who can match Redick's stamina and desire.
It won't be easy.
Redick is shooting 51 percent from the floor, 44 percent from 3-point range and 88 percent from the line.
However, coach Paul Hewitt's Georgia Tech teams have been among the best at making Redick work to score during his career. He has shot 38 percent against the Jackets in eight games.
"We want to contest every shot," Hewitt said.
Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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