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Thursday, January 12, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Duke 61, Virginia 58

By Robbi Pickeral



DURHAM, N.C. -- A quick look at No. 6 Duke’s 61-58 victory over No. 17 Virginia at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday night:

What it means: Despite another superb effort by Virginia forward Mike Scott -- who followed his 23-point effort against Miami with a 23-point game against the Blue Devils -- Duke extended its home winning streak to 44 games (behind only Kentucky, nationally) while halting the Cavaliers’ s run of victories at 12.

How it happened: The score was knotted 38-38 early in the second half when Duke made its breakaway. First, Seth Curry buried a 3-pointer. Then he blocked Sammy Zeglinski’s 3-point attempt, which led to a Tyler Thornton layup -- Duke’s first true transition bucket of the game. Scott’s baseline jumper wiggled out, leading to another Duke transition bucket. An Austin Rivers 3-pointer eventually stretched the run to 10-2 and the Blue Devils’ lead to 48-40.

Duke’s defense -- ranked second-to-last in opponent scoring in the ACC entering the game, allowing 69.4 points per game, and dead last in the league field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot 44.3 percent -- was more active in the second half.

But Virginia still had two shots to send it to overtime.

After Duke’s Ryan Kelly missed two free throws in the final minute, Virginia’s Akil Mitchell dunked back a miss to cut Duke’s lead to 61-58. Curry missed on a well-defended drive with about 15 seconds left, but Scott and teammate Jontel Evans both missed 3-pointers for Virginia in the final 10 seconds as time ran out.

Mason Plumlee led Duke, which shot 52.2 percent, with 12 points. Virginia shot only 39.3 percent, including 29.4 percent in the second half.

Numbers to know: Duke has now beaten Virginia eight consecutive times in the series and 15 straight times in Durham. Over the past 10 seasons, the Blue Devils are 17-1 against the Cavs. ... Duke made only 8-of-19 free throws Thursday night. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it's just the second time since 1996 the Devils have shot less than 50 percent from the line in an ACC home game. The other time came in an 85-83 loss to North Carolina in 2001. Duke was also just 5-of-20 from long range, its worst 3-point shooting performance of the season. ... Mike Scott scored 23 points (10-19 FG) and grabbed nine rebounds. The rest of Virginia's starters combined for 20 points (7-27 FG) and 13 rebounds.

What’s next: The Blue Devils travel to Clemson for a Sunday meeting. The Cavaliers get the weekend off, and will play at Georgia Tech on Thursday.

Robbi Pickeral can be reached at bylinerp@gmail.com. Twtter: @bylinerp.