Duke tops U.Va.
No. 2 Blue Devils win by 10 against 3rd-ranked Cavaliers
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia made sure its normally airtight defense of the paint had no leaks Saturday against Duke.
The problem was, the No. 2 Blue Devils got flowing from the outside.
Freshman R.J. Barrett scored 26 points, hitting six of Duke’s 13 3-pointers as it downed No. 3 Virginia 81-71 on Saturday night.
“We really tried to keep them out of the lane and jam the lane,” U.Va. coach Tony Bennett said. “We probably overcorrected in terms of that.”
Three weeks after playing a 2-point game in Durham, N.C., the two ACC powerhouses met again, in front of a packed house at John Paul Jones Arena, a crowd that included LeBron James, Ralph Sampson and Trinity Episcopal four-star forward Henry Coleman III.
They saw Duke’s freshmen star again, but this time, it was more on the perimeter than driving to the rim.
Zion Williamson scored 18 points and Cam Reddish added 17, going 5 for 8 from 3-point range, as Duke scored the most points against Virginia of any opponent this season.
Blue Devils freshman point guard Tre Jones, who missed the first game against Virginia, played in this one, as did U.Va. junior guard Ty Jerome, who sat out the Cavaliers’ last contest against Miami with a back injury.
Jerome led Virginia (202, 8-2 ACC) with 16 points and four assists. Junior
guard Kyle Guy also scored 16 points and sophomore wing De’Andre Hunter scored 11.
It wasn’t enough for Duke to hang a second loss on the Cavaliers, the team’s only two defeats this season.
After practicing on and off all week, Jerome said he didn’t know if he’d play against Duke until late in the week.
“I didn’t for sure until about Thursday that I was going to play,” Jerome said. “I practiced pretty much the whole time Friday and I felt all right.”
Jones, who missed two games with a shoulder injury last month, finished with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Blue Devils (21-2, 9-1).
Unlike the earlier meeting, when the two teams combined to hit just five shots from 3-point range, both found success from distance Saturday, especially the Blue Devils.
During the week, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski scoffed at a question suggesting his team’s less-than-stellar 3-point shooting statistics were a potential chink in his team’s armor.
Saturday, his players showed why college basketball’s all-time winningest
coach was right not to be worried, taking advantage of U.Va.’s focus on packing the paint.
“We did a much better job in the gap. They didn’t get as much driving lanes,” Guy said. “But, when you get 13 3s, you’re going to be hard to beat.”
The Blue Devils, who came in shooting just 30.8 percent from beyond the arc, went 13 for 21 from 3-point range, and they did it against the top 3-point defense team in the ACC.
“When we moved the ball, we got them to move a little bit and sometimes we got some open shots,” Krzyzewski said. “When we didn’t, they forced us into 15 turnovers, which they do. We did enough to win.”
The Blue Devils came out hot, going up 8-0 just 2:19 into the game. They hit seven of their first eight shots from 3-point range, being paced by Barrett.
“You could see right away, he was lathered up,” Krzyzewski said. “He got us off to such a good start.”
Duke had built a doubledigit lead before James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, even took his front-row seat on the baseline.
But Guy, held scoreless through the first half, scored 8 points in the final 2:33 of the period, helping lead U.Va. to an 8-3 spurt that cut the deficit at the break 39-35.
Duke began to pull away in the second half, but a 3-pointer from the wing that rattled in for Jerome trimmed the Cavaliers’ deficit to 59-52.
Hunter hit a 3-pointer to cut Duke’s lead to 66-61 with 5:25 to go, but that would be as close as Virginia would get in the rematch.
If the teams play again, it would be in the ACC or NCAA tournament.
Duke’s Javin DeLaurier grabs a pass intended for U.Va.’s Jack Salt as LeBron James (left, red sweatshirt) and Rajon Rondo (to James’ right) watch.
U.Va.’s Braxton Key gets to the ball before Duke’s Zion Williamson (1), Tre Jones (3) and Javin DeLaurier at John Paul Jones Arena.