Virginia Shuts Down the Blue Devils

Duke guard Cassius Stanley (2) has his shot blocked by Virginia forward Jay Huff (30) next to Virginia forward Mamadi Diakite (25) and Virginia guard Braxton Key (2) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia defeated Duke 52-50. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)

Charlottesville, VA – The once-mighty Blue Devils, who seemed to be getting hot at the right time, have dropped three out of the last four games, with all three losses being to unranked opponents at the time. Mamadi Diakite hit the game-deciding basket with 39 seconds left, leaving the Blue Devils with multiple opportunities, only for the final one to be swatted against the backboard by Jay Huff, for his TENTH block of the game, only two blocks shy of Ralph Sampson’s UVA record, which gave Virginia the 52-50 win. The Cavaliers move to 13-5 in ACC play and were led by the aforementioned Diakite and Huff, as well as Braxton Key, who combined for 43 of the 52 points. Duke was led by the duo of Vernon Carey and Tre Jones who had 17 points apiece.

Virginia has been on a tear lately, winning six in a row and nine of the last ten. All six games have been somewhat close and Coach Tony Bennett talked about how his team has played down the stretch in the final few minutes of games. The coach said, “We’ve been in those spots a lot, and you have to make plays defensively as much as offensively.” His team certainly did it on the defensive front holding the high scoring Blue Devils (fourth in the nation with 82.2 PPG) to only 50.

The Cavaliers still have a slim hope of taking the ACC crown but would need a lot of things to go their way. However, they do tie the Blue Devils in conference play. Duke will look to get back on track at home, against the NC State Wolfpack, a team that blew them out less than two weeks ago. Virginia will go south to matchup against the Miami Hurricanes as they look to keep the winning streak going.

Bracketology Effect: UVA moves from the 8 seed in the West to the 8 in the South. Duke drops from the 3 to the 4 line in the East Region.

Betting Effect: Covered: UVA +3, Under 124

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