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Duke Basketball: Hot hands propel Blue Devils to statement win at Virginia

11 February 2019

No college basketball team in the country would have beaten Duke on Saturday night.

The Blue Devils have allowed just 57.5 points over the last four games - fifth-best in power conferences over that span. That's how sound they are otherwise.

Also in attendance at John Paul Jones Arena was former Duke star Grant Hill. No. 4 Duke defeated No. 2 Virginia, 69-63, in Charlottesville on January 31, 2015; No. 2 Virginia beat No. 4 Duke, 65-63, in Cameron last season (January 27); No. 1 Duke beat No. 4 Virginia, 72-70, on January 19 at Cameron. Saturday will be about Virginia getting their points from 3-point land. And the Blue Devils responded by knocking down more 3-pointers than any other team has this season against Virginia's defense.

Duke scored the first eight points on a pair of 3-pointers by Barrett sandwiching a steal and dunk by Williamson.

But to start the second half, Duke's barrage from downtown continued, this time mostly at the hands of freshman Cam Reddish.

"I thought we were a little slow to our closeouts", said Virginia Coach Tony Bennett, who has a winning record against every ACC opponent except Duke.

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"They're just a good team, and we did what our principles tell us to do", Guy said.

LeBron James sat under the basket at the Duke end of the floor and didn't get up to leave until about 1:15 was left on the game clock. They're just in a slightly different order. At the half, Duke led, 39-35.

Although the Cavaliers pulled within five on two occasions, Duke never stopped answering with 3-point daggers. Zion Williamson added 18 points, making 6 of 8 field goal attempts.

As Eric Hubbs of Barstool Sports showed, Williamson made a block that was arguably one of the most athletic plays ever.

"There's two people in the world maybe that can make those plays", Bennett said of Williamson's block and overall athleticism, "and they were both in our gym".

It seemed as if Williamson was simply trying to avoid producing any headlines that would center on him. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.

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But if any player might supplant Williamson at the top of the draft, it's Barrett.

The last nine games in the Duke-Virginia series have been decided by a total of 42 points (4.7 points per game). He and Barrett are the highest scoring duo in the country this season at 45.0 points per game.

The Virginia Cavaliers stuffed the paint on defense, daring the Duke basketball players to shoot from the outside.

Kyle Guy led Virginia with 16 points but committed five of the Cavaliers' 14 turnovers. His fifth one gave them a 29-15 lead after less than 12 minutes of play. "Lot of uncharacteristic things and unacceptable things for a third-year and captain who's been there and done that". Duke's home games in this stretch are back-to-back rivalry match-ups versus NC State and No. 8 North Carolina...

"You can't beat a team like Duke", Bennett said, "especially when they're shooting at that clip ... without playing a really sounder, cleaner game".

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Duke Basketball: Hot hands propel Blue Devils to statement win at Virginia