Virginia Outlasts Duke, 65-63

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 27: Marvin Bagley III
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 27: Marvin Bagley III /

It was a top five matchup at Cameron Indoor on Saturday as number two ranked Virginia traveled to number four ranked Duke Basketball to take on the Blue Devils. Virginia held Duke to it’s lowest point total since the Blue and White scrimmage in October en route to a 65-63 win.

This was the game that was really going to test the young Blue Devils.

Virginia is one of the most disciplined teams on both ends of the floor. On offense, they force you to defend the entire shot clock and will make you pay if there’s a lapse in your defense. On the defensive end, they force their opponents to work for buckets. Very rarely do you see an easy bucket or an abundance of fast break points on the Cavaliers. They’re well coached and the players buy into the scheme.

That’s what kills Duke.

They never really had a rhythm going at all against Virginia. Buckets were sporadic on offense and whenever they tried dumping into Bagley or Carter, Virginia was quick to double them and force them to kick it back out. Duke was also worn down by Virginia’s offense. They expended most of their energy on the defensive end which led to lazy shots and lazy offense.

In the second half, the Blue Devils started making a run.

They went on two separate runs, a 9-0 run to make it 35-31 and a 10-4 run to take the lead at 41-39. Unlike other teams Duke has played this season, the Cavaliers were not all flustered or really even aware that Duke was making a run. They’re such an emotionally grounded team that runs like that don’t really affect them. They kept the course and didn’t led the Cameron Crazies or Duke’s energy deter them.

If one thing was apparent in Saturday’s game, it’s that the Blue Devils need to work on their rebounding out of the 2-3 zone. Long rebounds plagued them and while their first shot defense was good, it was those back breaking long rebounds that killed them.

Duke also only got to the foul line 11 times. They went 5-11 and contributed to the loss.

Two plays at the end really killed whatever chance Duke had at winning.

The Blue Devils were down 60-58 when Trevon Duval stole the ball and immediately threw a god awful pass to Wendell Carter that was picked off. The other was a Ty Jerome deep three from the top of the key with 39 seconds left. An absolute dagger to the heart of every Duke fan across the nation.

Next: Blue Devils Falter in Clash of ACC Titans

The Bag man Marvin Bagley had another 30 point 14 rebound game, going 13-18 from the field. While Duke was settling for lazy threes, the Bag man was doing Gods work and scoring in the paint. Grayson Allen had a clunker of a game, scoring a whopping five points on 2-8 shooting. The only other player in double figures was Carter with 14 and 15 rebounds.

The good news is that Duke will not face a team like Virginia the rest of the way and while teams may now have the formula to beat Duke, Virginia is the only team that can properly execute it.