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Devils Survive Hoos In OT

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Just as it's true that this year's Duke team isn't last year's Duke team,
this year's Virginia team ain't last year's either, and the 'Hoos put on quite a
show before running out of gas in overtime.

For much of the second half, it looked as if Virginia was going to be able to
hold Duke off, running out to a 10 point lead after being down 9 in the first
half. But Duke ripped that lead back and  near the end of regulation Mike
Dunleavy had a chance to put the game away. He hit one out of two free throws to
give Duke a two point lead, and UVa came down and got a shot to put it in
overtime. 

But overtime belonged to Duke.

The Devils scored on every possession in overtime and dictated the game from
that point on.  Jason Williams, who had struggled from the field, hit a
ridiculously long three pointer.  Duke went on an 8-2 tear, hit 20 points
in overtime, and never looked back.

Ok, maybe they looked back just to make sure Virginia stayed dead. Everyone
who saw this game knows that Virginia played with an enormous amount of passion
and heart.  For much of the second half, Virginia looked like the Top 10
team and Duke the nervous opponent.  And it's not that hard to understand -
Duke hammered UVa three times last season, just hammered them.  And UVa is
vastly improved. We can't say enough about the heart UVa showed.  It was
beautiful to see.

Duke has six freshmen on the roster and counts on three on a regular
basis.  So it's not a total shock that the Devils might seem reticent in
their first road game.

Until winning time, that is.

When Duke fought back from the 10 point deficit, UVa, with some foul
problems, seemed to wilt. Their will to attack wasn't as strong as it had been.
Their shots, so steady and sure a few minutes earlier, began to go astray. 
Rebounds and steals went Duke's way as the Devils became the aggressors. 
In overtime, withoutt Hall, and with Wiliams, Watson, and Hand hand-icapped with
4 fouls each, Virginia pulled up short.  But it doesn't change a
magnificent effort, much like Virginia Tech's heart last night against FSU can't
be denied.  But Duke had more in the tank than UVa, and given second life,
they clung to it with the fervor of a team which had seen death and found it
repellent.

Special praise: Dunleavy, who seems to live for big games.  He had a
brilliant game as detailed below, but when he's at his best his court awareness
is devastating.  Best performance since USC.

Individuals:

  • Chris Carrawell was superb.  His leadership, from the obvious clutch
    shots to his sideline role (Coach K said he was brilliant when he was out of
    the game, saying the perfect things at the right times). He had 25 points,
    hit all his FTs, and 3 assists. The sole negative was 6 turnovers.
  • Battier hit for 19, finally missed a free throw after a very long streak
    of nearly 30, had 6 boards, and played a long time with 4 fouls.
  • Boozer had 8 points with 10 boards, and some of those were at key points
    at the end of the game.  He also played with 4 fouls for some time.
  • James hit 6-9 with 3 FTs for 17, very solid stats.
  • Williams hit for 13, with 7 assists to 2 turnovers, 3 boards, and a very
    solid OT.
  • Dunleavy had a tremendous game, with 21 points on 70% shooting, 6-9 from
    the line, 7 boards, 2 assists, and a brilliant floor game.  He has
    brilliant potential.  It's exciting to see glimpses of it.

It's hard to overpraise Virginia.  Their fans and coaches thought (or at
least said) they weren't ready. Clearly, they were  Our suspicion is
they'll be ready a lot this season.  Gillen has proved to be an ACC-level
coach. Now that he has some ACC level talent, look for him to do some great
things.

As for Duke, this team has already learned something last year's team never
had to - how to deal with close, tough games.  This isn't the first time,
and it won't be the last. That they have done this well is a tribute to the
heart the players have and the skill the coaches have in bringing it to the
surface and getting everyone marching the same way. It's a lot of fun to watch
it develop.