Virginia 58, Duke 55
A Virginia team struggling to return to prominence ran into a Duke squad attempting to find itself without its injured leader tonight. The result was a fierce defensive game in which the Cavaliers took the lead for good in the final three minutes and held on for a 58-55 victory.
After 13 lead changes and 7 ties, Duke had a chance to send the game into overtime after Thomas Hill stole a pass near midcourt and dribbled toward the 3-point line. But his shot fell short at the buzzer.
The victory raised No. 23 Virginia’s record to 16-5 and gave it sole possession of fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 8-4 mark. Seventh-ranked Duke dropped to 19-5 and 7-5 in the A.C.C. The Blue Devils, defeated by Wake Forest on Saturday in Durham, N.C., had not lost consecutive games since the 1990 season, the last in which they failed to win the national title.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good about a performance, an offensive performance, that was as ugly as that one was,” said Jeff Jones, the Virginia coach. The Cavaliers made only 36.8 percent of their shots.
“We were too emotional, beyond the point where it’s a productive thing.”
But Duke fared worse.
Playing without the injured Grant Hill, their leading scorer and best all- round player, the Blue Devils often were disorganized on offense. They got few transition baskets, and even when they got good shots they missed them.
The A.C.C.'s most accurate shooting team entering the game (.518), Duke made only 32.3 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half and 35.9 percent for the game. The league’s best foul-shooting team (.732), Duke missed 9 of 13 free throws.
Duke’s 55 points were the fewest it has scored since the 1982 season.
“I’m not used to losing like I have, especially in the A.C.C.,” said guard Bobby Hurley. “It’s tough to deal with.”
Virginia, which defeated Duke at Durham in mid-January, had not swept a season series with the Blue Devils since 1983.