Expect another tight finish Saturday when No. 8 Virginia hosts Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke in Charlottesville, Va., as six of the last nine meetings have been decided by just one or two points.
The Cavaliers (18-4, 10-3 ACC) are 11-1 at home. They moved into a share of first place in the league with Tuesday’s 63-50 home defeat of No. 22 NC State.
The Blue Devils (17-7, 8-5) have dropped three of their last four road games, including Monday’s lopsided 81-59 loss at No. 19 Miami.
Duke won the last meeting 65-61 in former coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final visit to Charlottesville on Feb. 23, 2022, in spite of a career-high 25 points from Virginia’s Kihei Clark.
This season, his fifth at Virginia, Clark (11.4 points per game) is one of four players scoring in double figures for coach Tony Bennett’s team along with Armaan Franklin (12.2), Jayden Gardner (11.5) and Reece Beekman (10.2).
Gardner (18 points) and Beekman (15) led the way in Tuesday’s victory over the Wolfpack, who shot just 33.3 percent and became the 38th consecutive ACC opponent to score fewer than 70 points at John Paul Jones Arena.
Bennett was most impressed by the contributions off the bench from former starting center Kadin Shedrick, who had 10 points, a team-high six rebounds and one block in 27 minutes.
“I think it’s a great lesson,” Bennett said. “It’s why you keep working and you stay ready. Kadin practiced well for the last couple practices and the practices matter. He came ready and he kept himself ready.”
Shedrick had scored a total of eight points across his six previous games and did not play in Virginia’s previous game, a 74-68 loss at Virginia Tech on Feb. 4.
“Kadin has done a great job staying in the lab, working,” Gardner said. “It’s happened to everybody. Every guy has their lull and they have bad stretches. So it’s about who’s ready to play when someone else has a bad game.”
Several Duke players are coming off a bad game against the Hurricanes. Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor each had five of the Blue Devils’ 21 turnovers and were a combined 4 of 13 from the field.
Duke never led at Miami and trailed by as many as 26 points. The Blue Devils were on the wrong side in points off turnovers (23-9), second-chance points (24-9) and fast-break points (17-7).
Kyle Filipowski, who leads Duke in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (9.3) this season, finished with nine points and nine boards against the Hurricanes.
“I think they just came out, punched us in the mouth first and we didn’t really respond,” Filipowski said. “… And we just didn’t really try and fight back.”
First-year coach Jon Scheyer’s team is 12-0 at home but just 5-7 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“It wasn’t the same level of competing,” Scheyer said after the setback at Miami. “That’s on me, on our guys, on our team. It’s disappointing. Not OK with it.”
–Field Level Media