Well that was sweet: Duke led Virginia from wire to wire, overcame that very sticky defense and gave it right back to them. Duke held Virginia to 17 at the half and won 59-49 to bring home Duke’s 22nd ACC championship and Jon Scheyer’s first as a head coach. What a weekend for the Blue Devils.
Kyle Filipowski, who was notably shut out at Virginia and completely screwed on the last call, led the way with a 20/10 game. Jeremy Roach was the leading score with 23 though, including some clutch baskets and key free throws down the stretch.
But the story of the game was the defense.
Jayden Gardner shot 10-15 against Clemson Friday night. There was no way he was going to pull that off against Duke’s huge front line: he finished 3-9 for seven points. Filipowski and Dereck Lively were just too much to overcome inside, and not having Ben Vander Plas hurt UVA a lot because he could have stretched the defense.
Virginia was held to 27.3 percent in the first half and only Reece Beekman hit more than one shot before the half.
The Cavaliers shot better in the second half but not all that much: 33.3 percent. Beekman kept them afloat with 12 points and several baskets coming off of steals, but the only other guy to hit double figures was Isaac McKneely, a freshman three point savant who scored 10. Armaan Franklin was limited to 2-8 and Kihei Clark didn’t get a basket until the very end of the game.
Side note: if UVA fans rag on him again, screw them all. As Tony Bennett said when he first saw Clark in high school, “that kid’s a winner.” He is and always has been. That’s the guy who preserved UVA’s miraculous title run when Purdue was ready to drive a stake in them. He’s been magnificent.
Duke just shut down the lane and the only choice Virginia had was to win from outside.
But it was more than that.
Filipowski still makes some silly mistakes, but his strengths far outweigh those (and when he stops making them he’s going to be a complete monster). He really broke the game open when he made a phenomenal pass to Proctor for a three pointer, then followed that with a steal that he took all the way for a dunk. Shut out at Virginia, Filipowski was named the MVP in Greensboro.
Duke also forced 12 turnovers, including 10 from Clark, Beekman and Franklin, which is not something Virginia is used to seeing.
And when the ‘Hoos forced Duke into a slower pace, the Devils dominated at that pace too.
And as we’ve seen on the other side, at that pace, a five point lead is functionally a 10 point lead. Virginia did attempt a comeback and cut the lead to four before Duke, now mature and business like, put an end to that.
Roach got a pair of free throws, McKneely put up a rushed three that missed, and then Roach got the rebound and went back and nailed two more. Franklin took a three and missed and then Mitchell hit a pair of his own after being fouled.
What Greensboro really underscored is first, just how much Duke has grown and second, what a tremendous job Jon Scheyer has done in his first season.
Now Duke waits for its NCAA bid which will come Sunday. A nine-game winning streak has seen Duke re-enter the rankings and wins over #14 Miami and #13 Virginia, along with the ridiculous beatdown the Devils put on Pitt Thursday, mean Duke should enter the NCAA tournament with tremendous confidence and momentum.
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- Virginia offense falls silent in ACC Tournament finals to Duke, 59-49
Player Of The Game vs. Virginia
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