| Box Score |
Duke's win over Virgina wasn't a thing of beauty, but as Jim Valvano used to say, they
did survive and did advance, and will play again on Saturday in an all-Big 4 field.
And while it wasn't a thing of beauty in particular, as far as Daniel Ewing was
concerned, it was absolutely a thing of beauty. What a great game he played.
Coach K has long-since pointed to communication as a key problem for this team, and it
did seem at times as if that was a problem. Duke had far too many turnovers and a
lot of busted offensive opportunities, and Chris Duhon, Casey Sanders, and Dahntay Jones
in particular had some problems.
Daniel Ewing basically put the team on his shoulders and with 32 points had a career
night, and deserves enormous praise for his tremendous game. However, when you have,
between Ewing and Jones, two players taking 30 out of a total of 54 shots, you have an
imbalance in your offense that will cause problems down the road, and the road is rapidly
coming to an end for Duke and everyone else.
Moreover, while Ewing hit 11-16, which is amazing, Jones hit 5-14, which is not.
We're not saying he was a ballhog or anything, because he's a team guy, but when
Redick, Duhon, Horvath, Sanders, and Williams take only 19 shots between them, there's a
In Duhon's case, he has often been reluctant to shoot, preferring to pass, which in
general is admirable. But when you really don't shoot, the opponents just drop off
you and clog the passing lanes. So while Duhon had 7 assists, he also had 7
turnovers, which, for him, is really poor. His play was so poor that he didn't start
the second half, though he did play 34 minutes.
Defensively, Duke played well in stretches, but UVa managed to shoot .569 from the
floor. The percentage was partly inflated (it's not really a fair word, but you get
the idea) by Derrick Byars shooting 5-6 and Elton Brown going 6-8. And Duke's
interior defense might have been stronger had Shelden Williams not gotten into foul
And despite the occasional awkwardness offensively, there was some solid play in spots
for Duke, including Nick Horvath, who had a quietly sensational game.
Nick is never going to be Shelden Williams or Shane Battier, but he has come a long,
long way. He came to Duke as a skinny 3 point specialist who lacked confidence.
Now he is a tough-minded defender and rebounder, and a guy who knows how to set a
screen and to be in the right place at the right time in Duke's offense or defense.
There were a number of plays that depended on Nick's doing the right thing in a
supporting role, and he was huge in this game.
There has been a lot made in recent days of Pete Gillen's situation at UVa, with his
woeful March record overall, and his 0-5 ACC Tournament record. Gillen has lamented
this season, saying that some of his guys lacked character, and that losing Keith Jenifer,
etc., cost his team dearly.
Okay, fine. But character flows from the top down. We caught a key insight
into UVa when Elton Brown got his technical. He was taken out of the game, which was
appropriate, but he stood on the sideline and bitched, and Gillen stood right beside him
and didn't say a word, didn't even acknowledge what was going on.
We don't know what he was upset about, but we found the scene shocking. He went
from that snit to the bench, where he continued to complain and gesticulate, and we
thought he might burst into tears at any second.
Don't get us wrong: it's possible he was screwed by the refs; it was possible
that he was entirely in the right. But no one told him to knock it off; no one tried
to focus him on the game; no one suggested that he was behaving badly, which he was.
Moreover, he was complaining to - and thereby distracting - his teammates.
Pete Gillen has put some fun, if erratic teams out, but it's pretty clear now that
discipline is not his strong suit as a coach.
Duke now advances to play UNC, which had a stirring upset of Maryland Friday evening, and is playing the best ball in the conference right now.
Duke probably got into bed at around 1:30, which makes for a tough turnaround, but
then again, UNC has a very thin bench and no inside power to speak of, so that could be a
Congratulations to Daniel Ewing again on an amazing performance. Would it be too
much to say he pulled a Childress?