Duke Basketball Falters in Clash of ACC Titans

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 27: Grayson Allen
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 27: Grayson Allen /

Both Duke and Virginia came into this clash as titans of the ACC to date. This game certainly did not disappoint from an entertainment perspective, but the score was not what Blue Devil fans had hoped for. Virginia came into Cameron Indoor Stadium having not won in 23 years. This game was a tale of two halves as Virginia got out to an early 32-22 lead heading into the half, while Duke outscored them 41-33 in the second half.

Unfortunately, that second half comeback came up just short in the closing seconds. Virginia proved that their stout defense is unmatched as Duke failed to reach the 70-point mark for the first time this season. The Blue Devils possessed the number 1 offense in the country prior to this matchup featuring two top five teams. Duke came in averaging a staggering 91.7 points per game, proving just how good this Virginia defense is.

Once again, Marvin Bagley III proved to be a difference maker on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Bagley had 30 points in this one to go along with 14 rebounds. Similarly, Wendell Carter Jr put up a stat line of 14 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks. While the Duke big men provided the spark, the rest of the team did not contribute in a bug way. The trio of Allen, Duval, and Trent Jr combined for 19 points while shooting 8 for 26 from the field (1 of 8 from three). The guard position has been a focal point all season and makes this Blue Devil team go. Without a strong performance from their trio of starting guards, Duke has floundered as we saw that against Boston College and NC State earlier in the year.

Duke’s comeback attempt fell short after a miraculous three-point field goal made by Marvin Bagley III. In the remaining seconds, a controversial foul was called on Grayson Allen, as it appeared he got an elbow to the face by Kyle Guy. Guy then hit two critical free throws to seal the game for Virginia. For Virginia, the trio of Guy, Jerome, and Hall provided the offensive spark this team needed to come out victorious.

DURHAM, NC – JANUARY 27: Wendell Carter, Jr.
DURHAM, NC – JANUARY 27: Wendell Carter, Jr. /

Despite the poor play by Allen, Duval, and Trent Jr; Duke kept it close throughout the game and that is a positive aspect to take away. If they had even a remotely better offensive performance, this game would not have had the same result and we would be looking at a Duke victory. While Duke disappointed, they must look towards their next game as they take on Notre Dame at home. For Virginia, they host Louisville in another exciting ACC matchup. Duke will look to get back on track Wednesday night in ACC play.