So, apologies to all those who were anxiously anticipating my Duke-UVA preview. Lots has been written about this game, and honestly I was wasn't in the mood to be analytical and journalistic, and more in the mood for one liners and snark. So I'm gonna try something new and "liveblog" this game, making statistical commentary as needed (probably at halftime). McClure doesn't appear to be available for this game, so containing Singletary and Reynolds may fall to Nelson and Scheyer, and those matchups could be crucial to this game. Tip off time:
20:00 Duke starts McRobterts, Paulus, Nelson, Thomas, and Scheyer.
19:06 Thomas scores the first points for Duke. The Blue Devil big men could have a big night with soft defense like that.
17:35 Reynolds grabs a rebound and takes it right to the basket without much resistance. That could be a problem.
16:45 Three blocks in a row by McBobs... strike my previous comment.
15:06 Trading 3's on both ends... One would think this would benefit Duke's superior 3pt defense.
First Media Break: The pace is normal for Virginia, but frantic for Duke. The Blue Devils need to start grabbing the rebounds of their long-range shots to prevent the running game. But they still lead, 15-9. It appears I was wrong about Dave McClure, as he is now in the game, along with Henderson.
12:10. There haven't been any points scored in 3 minutes. Not really any sloppy play, just a bunch of missed shots.
12:05 Singletary breaks the drought with another drive right to the hoop. McRoberts isn't anywhere near the paint, and he scored easily.
Second Media Break The pace is still pretty frantic for Duke, but now the gap is smaller, 17-14. When Virginia is in a transition mode, it seems like Duke's defense can't keep up (and Singletary/Reynolds simply drive or shoot a 3). But when Duke forces UVA into a half-court, the Duke Defense tightens up considerably (like McBobs' blocks).
10:28 Paulus declares that the bank is indeed open, then Cain misses an easy dunk. HOO can't dunk? He can't dunk!
9:22 Henderson with a high-flying block, snuffing a transition opportunity by UVA after a Scheyer turnover.
8:59 Cain redeems himself, dunking over McRoberts. I appreciate that he's not trying to get into foul trouble, but he's gotta start asserting himself to stop the dribble penetration.
8:23 Oh good, a Sportscenter 30 at 30. Because I tune into ESPN just to watch a sports update every 30 minutes, rather than going online or to ESPN News. I really really hate it.
Third Media Break. Duke's increased the lead to 24-16, thanks to some good inside scoring by Duke and some poor judgment by UVA players on their offensive end. Something else happened right before the break, but I have no idea what, since the game was reduced to 1/4 of the screen. Thanks, WWL.
6:48 McRoberts steps up on a drive, finally. Thomas gets whistled for a foul on the rebound, his second. The replay shows no contact whatsoever. But Duke gets all the calls, right?
5:49 Reynolds called for a carry, stopping a 5 on 2 UVA advantage on a break. Duke needs to put UVA away or the Virginia running game is going to come back to bite the Blue Devils.
4:41 Nelson hits a floater in the lane to make it 30-19. This is what I'm talking about, slow it down, take a smart shot, own the paint with superior inside play.
2:33 Timeout Duke after a 3 from Diane following yet another dribble penetration and dish by Singletary.
2:10 McRoberts finishes down low, he might have taken a few too many steps.
1:27 Good burning of clock by Duke has an unfortunate finish- out of control turnover by Henderson.
1:03 "Tremendous acting job" (according to Mike Patrick) by Singletary. So, what you're saying is you're excited by cheating, Mike? Singletary hits both freebies.
37.1 Zoubek goes over the back, silly foul, could build momentum if Lars hits these. He hits one.
24.6 Lars picks up a foul 30 feet from the basket on McRoberts. I guess they had a foul to give, but still...
0:00 Henderson dribbles around a lot, puts up a long two and misses. A curious last possession.
Halftime thoughts: Duke limited Singletary and Reynolds to 5 of 14 shooting, and kept the pace down overall, just 31 possessions (Duke averages 65 possessions per game).
18:00. Diane hits another mid-range jumper. Virginia seems to be responding to the perimeter and paint defense with mid-range shots.
17:25 Singletary hits a layup to make it 38-35. Duke misses a layup and we have a game.
16:42 Thomas goes strong to the hoop for a 3-pt play opportunity. Lance sinks it, Duke's lead is back to 6, and Thomas goes back to the bench (he has 3 fouls).
Media Timeout: Not really sure how Duke can expect to defend the quickness of Singletary and Reynolds in the mid-range game. Instead they need to respond by sticking to their offensive game plan and limiting mistakes on that end. An efficient offense is a good defense in this case.
Duke Timeout, 12:46. Been kind of distracted the last few minutes, but Reynolds has scored a bunch more with pull-up jumpers, and Duke has been sloppy on offense. Coach K with his standard "Basketball. You guys are playing bas-ket-ball." Timeout.
12:12 Duke is still playing sloppy offense. Turnovers. No Offensive rebounds. Chaotic shot selection.
11:26 Reynolds adds an exclamation point trey to a well run half-court possession for UVA.
Media Timeout, 11:08 43-42 Duke.
10:30 Sweet, Carmelo Anthony wasn't selected to the NBA All-Star Team. Oh wait, I DON'T CARE. And I miss another possession because of it.
9:50 Quite the athletic rebound by Henderson, tossing it to Paulus falling out of bounds.
McBobs finishes on the ensuing possession with a pretty right jumphook.
8:25 Scheyer with a crazy tip in on Paulus' short shot with the clock winding. Paulus should have been shooting three, as he was knocked down. But Duke gets all the calls...
7:43 Cain traps McRoberts' arm between his and #2 gets whistled for the foul.
Media Timeout 49-46 Duke. Virginia hasn't lead since it was 6-4 but have been hanging around, and their ability to run could aid them if it stays close when it's late. Duke hasn't produced much excitement on the offensive end, with their matchup-zone giving Paulus some difficulty (though he's limited his turnovers).
7:14 Scheyer runs into a (clearly moving) screen by Cain, ends up under Reynolds's feet and gets called for a foul. Reynolds gets a chance to tie the game. And he does.
6:55 McRoberts answers, going strong to the hoop. We're in for a tight finish.
5:44 Scheyer knocks down a three on a pass by McRoberts. Singletary rushes a shot and Duke can slow it down with a six point lead.
4:57 Thomas fouls out, called for a moving pick. His feet didn't move, unlike Cain's knockdown of Scheyer two minutes earlier. But Duke gets all the calls...
4:29 Nelson hits a three-pointer as Reynolds writhes on the other end of the court. UVA fans are upset, but he's not part of the play, they shouldn't stop the clock.
4:11 McClure with a solid block of Diane, Paulus initiates the slow-down offense.
3:42 McRoberts hits a running floater with five on the shot clock, and will go to the line for the 3-pt play.
Media Timeout. The foul situation: with Thomas out, the next Blue Devil in danger is McRoberts, who has three. Mikalauskas (yeah, I had to look it up) also has three but he hasn't been playing much. Duke's now in the single bonus, and has a foul to give on the other end.
3:19 Reynolds hits off the glass, 59-53. Nelson turns the ball over and then fouls Reynolds.
2:58 Reynolds hits both to cut the lead to four. McRoberts fouled by Cain, who now has four personal fouls.
2:38 Nelson grabs a rebound and is tied up, possession arrow goes to Duke, and Paulus is still slowing it way down. UVA needs a stop, and Paulus loses it out of bounds right on cue.
Timeout UVA 61-55 Duke, 2:14 to go.
2:05 Reynolds hits two free throws, he has 23 points.
1:52 Paulus is body-checked by Singletary, no call, but Duke ball still.
1:34 Nelson can't throw it off Diane, UVA ball, 61-57 Duke.
1:15 McClure called for a blocking foul. By my replay, McClure's feet had been set for a good two seconds before Reynolds hit him. But Duke gets all the calls... Reynolds hits both, and its a one possession game.
Timeout UVA. ESPN replays all kinds of court-rushing upon beating Duke. I mean, it's an honor that upsetting the Blue Devils means so much, but in the end you've won a home game in the regular season. Yay? Paulus needs to control the ball in these last possesions. Duke needs to finish.
55.2 61-59 Duke, 15 on the Shot clock. I like the call by Coach K. Set em up. I say a set play for Scheyer from beyond the arc. It's a dagger type play that JJ and Duhon used to hit all the time.
41 Paulus shoots an off-balance runner that clanks off the rim.
24.8 Singletary hits a running jumper to tie the game. Duke can play for the last shot. McRoberts initiates with 8 seconds left. He misses a jumper with 3 seconds left. McClure has the ball knocked away but there isn't any call. Guess we're going to overtime.
Start of OT. Duke's got Nelson, McClure, McRoberts, Scheyer, and Paulus. I have the feeling this is Singletary's and Reynolds' game to lose. Singletary draws contact and goes to the line on the first possession. He hits both to put UVA up two.
4:24 Nelson misses a 3, McClure grabs the rebound. Paulus drives and gets to the free throw line. Cain fouls out with 6 points, 10 rebounds.
4:14 "Paulus Sucks" rains down as Greg hits both. Classy and creative fans, those Hoos. Reynolds comes off the court, limping. Tie game.
3:40 Diane scores a put-back layup. Can't let them have second chances.
3:22 Petinella pushes McRoberts in the back. The UVA crowd boos, predictably. Josh ties the game.
2:57 Thomas (?!?) fouls out (again?). Oh, ESPN just sucks, that's all. Petinella is 7 of 27 on the season. He bricks the first. I think I have better shooting form. Sinks the second, UVA up one.
2:42 Paulus' 25 footer rims out. Timeout UVA with 2:33 to go, up one.
2:08 Henderson with outstanding defense on Diane, and in the end forces the turnover. He drives on the other end and is fouled.
1:56 Henderson hits the first but misses the second. Rebound by Reynolds, boxing out the shooter. Tie Game.
1:31 Singletary with an airball three... fatigue, anyone?
1:14 McRoberts can't sink the shot over Lars.
1:00 Reynolds cramps up on a drive and McClure smacks it against the backboard.
30.2 Timeout Duke, 66-66 8 seconds on the shot clock. McRoberts still can't get to the hoop against Mikalauskas (that's "Lars" by the way). Reynolds is off the court again. Inbound to Scheyer, gets stuck in the corner and forces a 3 as the shot clock expires, UVA calls timeout at half-court with 17.0 seconds remaining, tie game. They can win it.
17.0 Both Virginia guards are in, but obviously fatigued. Inbound to Singletary in the back-court. Nelson on him. McRoberts switches onto him at the arc. He drives the lane and shoots a circus fade-away. It's in.
1.0 McRoberts will throw the ball in. They can only catch and shoot. He slides to his right and throws a bullet down court to Paulus, who gets the ball just a few feet from the arc. Paulus sidesteps Singletary and throws up a trey.... and it hits the back of the rim. And now there's fans on the court.
An excellent game on both ends. I don't mean to say with my "And Duke gets all the calls" comments that the refs handed Virginia this game. Both teams got their share of calls, and as usual for UVA, the difference was Singletary and Reynolds. While the mid-range jumper may be a lost art in most of college basketball, it was on fine display tonight in Charlottesville, and Duke had no answer. Final Score: UVA 68 Duke 66.