Duke tops Virginia in top-four showdown

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The game started off back and forth with teams trading baskets. A year ago, Virginia (16-0, 4-0) won in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium to essentially wrap up the ACC regular-season race by late January. And, for the second time, the Blue Devils emerged victorious.

After shooting just 38.7 percent from the field against Syracuse, the Blue Devils stepped it up offensively against the Cavaliers.

Duke's Javin DeLaurier (12) and RJ Barrett (5) struggle for possession of the ball with Virginia's De'Andre Hunter, rear, during the first half on Saturday.

(17) NORTH CAROLINA STATE 77, NOTRE DAME 73: C.J. Bryce scored 23 points and North Carolina State (15-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast) withstood several second-half challenges from Notre Dame (11-7, 1-4) at South Bend, Indiana.

The game continued to be a dogfight in the second half.

Duke point guard Tre Jones went down early in the Syracuse loss with a separated shoulder, and the Blue Devils struggled on both ends of the floor without him.

Duke and Virginia totaled 14 assists combined in the contest.

Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish. Jones will not miss the remainder of the season; in fact, he's expected back sooner rather than later. Williamson also had three rebounds. This season has been characterized by poor free throw shooting, and it almost cost Duke this game.

"Wow, that's a high-level game", Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "[Reddick] I've seen in this league". The Orange's 95 points was a season high allowed by the Blue Devils, who dropped a full spot to No. 4 in Ken Pomeroy's defensive efficiency rankings.

Head coach Tony Bennett says, "I told our guys in the locker room, it wasn't our effort, it was just enough possessions where we were a bit unsound, whether we didn't get a blockout, or reached on the ball, or had a careless turnover". It's because Duke has the two players projected by most to go first and second in the 2019 NBA Draft, and they both played, against Virginia, like players who deserve to go first and second in the 2019 NBA Draft. "But when we talk (on defense), we're so athletic and long, we fully have the capability to remain an elite defense, although we will miss his services greatly". Fortunately, Virginia shot just 64.7 percent from the line, well below their season average of 76.9 percent.

With Williamson supplying the fireworks, Duke looked in control for most of the first half.

"Wherever we are, we're going to play the same game no matter what", U.Va. freshman guard Kihei Clark said.

Kyle Guy is a prolific 3 point shooter and is the leading scorer for this Cavalier team, scoring 15.3 points per game.

The Cavaliers have a quick turnaround. Any time they got in the paint, if they made it, they made it. In other words, if they can beat Virginia without Jones, they can surely beat Pitt, Georgia Tech and anybody else they might have to play without Jones.

"He wasn't going to play", Krzyzewski said after the 72-70 victory over Virginia.

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