Playing Virginia with the full compliment of your lineup is difficult to play them without your best defender and leading assist man is herculean. This was a Virginia team that hadn’t given up 75 points all season, in fact the most points the Cavaliers had given up was 71. Duke was able to inch past the Wahoos by scoring 72, well off the Blue Devil’s average of 90 but well above the average the Cavaliers normally give up (51.7).
In a game that saw only 5 3-pointers go down between the two ACC heavyweights and with neither team having a decided advantage in turnovers with both only committing 8, the Blue Devils were able to do just enough. The Blue Devils, on the strength of R.J. Barrett’s 30 points and Zion Williamson’s 27 and 9 rebounds were able to break down Virginia’s Packline Defense with an array of motion, cuts and drives to the bucket. Duke used size mismatches going with a large lineup with Zion Williamson being the shortest player in Dukes lineup at 6’7. In the first half that advantage played well for Duke with a decided edge in rebounds and second chance points. Duke went into the half with a 20 to 12 lead in rebounding (9 to 2 offensive) which led to an 11 to 2 advantage in second chance points.
The second half saw the Cavaliers shore up their rebounding issues to the tune of an 18 to 12 advantage, Duke countered with an 11 to 2 edge in fast break points and in a game of limited offensive opportunities that number is amplified. The unsung hero for the Blue Devils was Marques Bolden who only scored 2 points but stepped up in the waning moments to grab a huge rebound and calmly sink 2 free throws as the Blue Devils were struggling from the line.
UVA was led in scoring by Deandre Hunter, who scored 18 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome poured in 14 each and combined for 10 boards for the Cavaliers. Who dropped their first game of the season.
How close this game was statistically:
UVA FG%: 53%
DUKE FG%: 51%
UVA 3ptFG%: 18%
DUKE 3ptFG%: 14%
UVA RBs: 32
DUKE RBs: 30
UVA PIP: 42
DUKE PIP: 46
UVA TOs: 8
DUKE TOs: 8