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Duke Rolls Over UVa 93-71

| N-R | Richmond
| Richmond |
H-S | W-S |
Recap |
Box Score |

After a difficult first half, which saw Shelden Williams and JJ Redick get
into foul trouble, Duke rallied in the second half behind a motivated Williams
for a 93-71 lead. Williams will be the story of the game, but to us, there
was an equally compelling story, and that was the play of Luol Deng.

Deng, who has been a remarkably mature freshman who tends to be reticent
rather than make mistakes, made a bunch of them in the first half. At
times he looked like he was unsure he could bang with Virginia's inside players,
and at other times, he just made poor decisions. You have to keep in mind
that it's a freshman playing his second ACC road game when you criticize, and he
has had a lot of really solid plays already for Duke, but he had trouble with
UVa's defense, getting trapped at one point, walking, allowing the ball to go
backcourt (he made a remarkable save on that play), and at times just seemed
tentative. It carried over on defense, because there were a few plays
where he seemed uncertain about what to do, and so his man blew by him or he had
nothing left defensively but to put his hands up as high as he could, and he's a
better defender than that.

This would not have been as critical had Williams not gotten into foul
trouble, but between his absence and Deng's up-and-down performance, Virginia
hung around.

By the end of the half, though, he had pretty much figured it out and got
back to his normal level of effectiveness, scoring the last four points of the
half and playing much better defense.

Still, it was somewhat sobering to see Duke playing with three key players
either subpar or in trouble, and good to know they could survive it.

As we mentioned, once Williams got back into the game, in the second half, he
was sensational. A lot of fuss has been made, and justifiably so, over
Redick's free throw streak, but it was also nice to see Shelden hit 9-10.
He's going to be banged on a lot, and if he can hit from the line, he'll be
getting a lot of easy points. It's worth mentioning this, too: Shelden's offense
has developed tremendously since last year. At the beginning of the year,
his offensive fundamentals were, to us, pretty weak. He had trouble making
his own shot and even basic things like pivoting seemed a stretch at
times. Not now. His defense and rebounding were superb (and they
have continued to improve), and now he can make his own shots, do a lot more
inside moves, and seems truly comfortable down low. He's really improved
tremendously in a short period of time.

Chris Duhon continued his remarkable resurgence, running the team
beautifully, and check out his line: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists. Not
bad at all.

Ewing and Redick both continue to recover from their respective injuries and
are more and more often finding the range, and Dockery's offense is improving to
compliment his already intense ball pressure. And as we
mentioned, Redick set the ACC record for most consecutive free throws, so
congrats to him on an amazing accomplishment.

Shavlik Randolph hit 5-7 but was outrebounded by nearly everyone on the team
with the exception of Dockery, who also had two, Melchionni, with one, and
Redick, with zero.

And as we said, while Deng started the game erratically, he made up for it
and had some superb plays, including two brilliant passes for easy baskets (one
to Randolph and one to Williams), a breakaway layup, and some excellent second
half defense.

As a matter of fact, Duke's defense was again superb. While Duke hit
52.3% from the floor, Virginia was held to 40.3% for the game (depending on
whose box score you believe). Duke hit 34 shots to UVa's 25, and the teams were
almost identical from three point range, with Duke 6-18 and UVa 6-17.

We've roundly criticized Virginia for playing some lame teams, but like
Clemson, we can see the kernel of a pretty good team in this group. Smith
is a solid player, Elton Brown has radically remade his body (we were extremely
impressed with his overall improvement even though his stats for this game
weren't that great), Forbes and Reynolds have a lot of potential - you hope
Gillen gets past his problems and gets things going again. His early UVa
teams were just so much fun to watch, and we miss them. But at least you
can say there are no signs of last year's problems, where some players, by
Gillen's admssion, became problems. If they hang together, like Clemson,
they have the potential to be better than people think. Health would help,
needless to say, and playing better opponents wouldn't have hurt either.
But considering where UVa has been the last two years, this group is a ray of
sunshine. Here's hoping they can put it together and get UVa back where
they should be.