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The Skinny - Duke overwhelmed Virginia in the first half, but UVa played
with incredible heart in the second half, cutting the lead from 38 at the high
point to as low as 16

Was that what you expected? Not here. DBR saw a close, hardfought game more
along the lines of the game up there, but instead, Duke just ran away with it in
the first half and beat UVa so bad they really couldn't get back into the game.

Not that they didn't try. Their second half comeback was incredibly gutty and
won a lot of admiration from Duke fans. Some teams in the ACC just lay down and
die this season, but not the 'Hoos.  Most impressive.

We fully expected Duke to be dragging after the thrilling Carolina game, or
perhaps just to be emotionally still in Chapel Hill. Didn't happen.

Duke came out and jumped on UVa hard from the get-go and didn't let up
throughout the half.  Not that it was a perfect game, though. 

For one, for the first part of the game, Donald Hand dominated Jason Williams
on the offensive end.  Within a few plays, Duke switched Williams off of
Hand.

For another, though we don't normally criticize referees, in this game we
will make an exception, and for one reason only: this game was tremendously
physical, probably too much so.  Travis Watson got knocked out in the first
minute of the game, and both Boozer and Battier had to leave the game
bleeding.    That's too much.  Someone could have gotten
seriously hurt, or a fight could have broken out.  The ref's job is to
control the game, and they didn't do it well.  On one play, Battier went up
to shoot and got a forearm across his face. That's too much. We're not
suggesting that UVa played rougher than Duke, but rather that the refs should
have reined it in and not let it be so out of control.

And for one other problem, Duke was up by 38 and let UVa back into the game -
almost to the point of confidence. That's very dangerous, and that's the 3rd
game in a row where that's happened. Clemson outplayed Duke in the second half,
UNC came back from 19 down, and now UVa.  It's not enough to say it's a debilitating
pattern, but if we were coaching we'd take a long careful look at it. 
Certainly Cincinnati won't fall for it. Neither, likely, would NC State. On the
other hand, though, that could have been fatigue from Thursday.

Nonetheless, those concerns aside, the first half was a pretty a half of
basketball as you're liable to see.

And after  a rocky start, Jason Williams was superb later.  He
finished with 13 points and 13 assists, and just two turnovers, and he showed
flashes of his passing arsenal. Some were just gorgeous.

It's really hard to say a lot about a game like this. The main criticism is
just in letting the Wahoo's back into the game in the first place.  When
you throw a body in the grave, you have to throw the dirt after it. 19 point
leads, 38 point leads - that ain't chicken feed. When you get it you have to
keep it.

But otherwise, a nice day to be a Duke fan! And nice to see the continuted
growth of the freshmen - and Cwell and Battier were their usual devastating
selves.   Nate James had a quieter game, but still played well.

Notes - Battier was 13-14 from the line...he also had 11 boards...at one
point when Hand was shooting free throws, the students yelled "hand
job" and did an appropriate gesture. Coach K came over immediately and put
a stop to that...we can't say enough about UVa's comeback...Gillen seemed pretty
flabbergasted by halftime...Hand proved very tough to defend...Jason took out
some of the good stuff today...

*****

Hitman's Take!

This afternoon was marked by a gutsy performance by a very tired
Duke team. At times it was not pretty at all, and at times the team really
looked fatigued, but they played hard, and got the job done. They've earned
some rest before Maryland.

Pre-game was interesting, only because the UVA squad goes through a
pretty thorough round of exercises and conditioning drills before the game.
The crowd had plenty of fun with these, doing the normal, "1, 2, 3, ., 10 -
Switch!" cheer, and singing a few choruses of the "Hokey Pokey". The
Crazies also really got in the faces of the Cavaliers when they came right
next to the crowd to use press row to do some stretching maneuvers - a
mistake if you ask me.

Duke started the game off very strong; quick threes by Battier and
James, and then a powerful dunk by Boozer made it 8-0 before the Hoos could
blink. The crowd was rolling, and Gillen called the first of three
time-outs in the first half. But that did not stop the Duke run. We
worked the ball around well on offense, and used Boozer effectively in the
post. We were also helped when Travis Watson went down very early in the
game with some type of facial injury. It appeared to me that he caught an
inadvertent elbow in the midst of a scramble for a rebound. Duke played
equally as well on defense, especially in the lane. Time after time, UVA
guards would drive past our perimeter defense, only to be blocked cleanly by
Shane and Boozer. At times, it almost seemed as if our guards were letting
Hand and company drive past them, like leading lambs to the slaughter. But
I cannot say for sure if this was a conscious strategy on the part of the
Devils.

The UVA players also quickly got themselves into foul trouble, as
they played a very physical first half. Duke was in the double bonus with
about nine minutes left to play in the half. Shane, C-Well, and Boozer
continued to lead the way on offense, and Duke soon had more than a twenty
point lead. The crowd was riding Donald Hand with chants of, "Hand Job",
but during a TV time-out, K walked completely across the court to the
student section, and said, "No more hand jobs". Needless to say, that was
the end of that.

UVA went on a small run in the last eight minutes of play, and at
one point they had a full-court press on, and every single Blue Devil ran
past half court, not even thinking about the inbounds. K immediately
called a time-out, and could very clearly be heard chastising his players as
he ran onto the court (I'm toning it down a bit, I hope TV did not catch his
choice of words). After that time-out, Duke really throttled UVA for the
rest of the half. Jason in particular had some nice moves down the lane,
and Mike Dunleavy added some well-timed lay-ups. At one point, Nick Horvath
was left completely unguarded, and Jason found him for the open shot. With
three seconds to go in the half, a UVA player saved the ball from going out
of bounds, and passed it directly to Jason Williams under the hoop. He
converted the wide open lay-up, and Duke was ahead by 32 points at the half,
65-33.

The second half saw UVA put forth a re-energized effort, which
enabled them to close the gap against a tired Duke team. Donald Hand, in
particular, was on fire; he seemed to be able to score at will. Time after
time, a UVA player would beat a Duke player to a loose ball, or a Duke
player would be late covering his man on the perimeter. Despite their
obvious lack of energy, the Devils still battled hard. Shane took it upon
himself to draw some fouls on the offensive end of the court, and converted
the free throws. Jason appeared to get a second wind around the middle of
the half, and he began to control the game, driving to the hoop with ease.
He found Mike Dunleavy for some spectacular lay-ups, which were reminiscent
of the move he put on during the UNC game. The crowd responded with chants
of, "We like Mike, we like Mike". He also forced Hand into picking up his
fourth foul, which put him on the bench. At one point, Jason had the UVA
defenders so convinced that he would pass when he drove, every single UVA
player backed off into the passing lanes, allowing him a simple, wide open
lay-up. The crowd also noticed his parents in the crowd at one point, and
serenaded them with a cheer of "Jason's parents". I'm sure they were proud
of their son's performance today.

I really cannot say enough about the effort of all the guys, from
C-Well on down; they really left it all on the court today. I thought the
crowd did an excellent job of getting behind the team tonight, providing
them with that extra boost of energy when needed, and not letting UVA mount
any substantial runs. Battier and C-Well were consistent on offense, and
Boozer re-established his presence in the post. I don't think the lead ever
dropped below eighteen points, and even with our bench players in for the
last three minutes, Duke still won by twenty, 106-86.