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Duke Wins A Tight One At Virginia 65-61

Duke v Virginia
 CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 23: Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots against Reece Beekman #2 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half at John Paul Jones Arena on February 23, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

As is almost always the case lately, Duke and Virginia came down to the wire, with Duke winning 65-61.

And as always, nothing about this was easy.

Duke built a narrow lead at the half, and though it never rose to more than eight, and Virginia never went away, they never caught up either.

In the first half, Kihei Clark put on an absolute show, hitting six threes and keeping UVA in the game because, after the game in Durham, Duke was not going to let Virginia win inside.

That carried over to the second half as Jayden Gardner did end up with 16 but only two near the basket. Kaden Shedrick, who killed Duke the first time, had one. Francisco Caffaro looked traumatized after Mark Williams blocked two in a row and he missed a pair of chippies.

But Virginia being Virginia, they kept chipping away. Good thing for Duke that Jeremy Roach and AJ Griffin decided it was a good night for a big game.

Roach was highly effective early and finished with 15 points on 6-7 from the floor and managed to blow through Virginia’s stingy defense several times. And late, Griffin took over, hitting one three to put Duke up 55-51 with 3:44 left and another with 2:44 left to put the Devil up by five.

As we’ve said before, Virginia is incredible in late-game situations. For our money, Tony Bennett is the best at that since Dean Smith. So we were a little surprised that AJ Griffin managed to knock the ball loose with :16 left. Trevor Keels was fouled and split his free throws to give Duke a narrow four point lead.

Then who came through for the ‘Hoos but Clark again as the 5-8 (maybe) senior hit a layup to cut the lead to 63-61 with :04 left.

With Virginia, you never feel secure. So when AJ Griffin was fouled, we didn't exhale until he hit both.

It’s what we’ve come to expect from a Duke-Virginia game - unbearable tension, a very physical play and whoever wins wins by just a few points. We can’t call it fun but it’s a man’s game every time.

Jim will be along soon with his take.


Player Of The Game vs. Virginia

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Wendell Moore
    (2 votes)
  • 22%
    AJ Griffin
    (174 votes)
  • 0%
    Paolo Banchero
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark Williams
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Trevor Keels
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Theo John
    (2 votes)
  • 74%
    Jeremy Roach
    (586 votes)
  • 0%
    Joey Baker
    (5 votes)
784 votes total Vote Now