CAVS CLAMP DOWN
Between a pen sent flying in frustration and curse words flying toward officials, No. 7 Duke simply had a foul day on stage where it’s seen so much success on Sunday.
No. 6 Virginia flexed its muscles early and clamped down on the Blue Devils late to beat Duke 72-63 in the ACC Tournament championship game at Greensboro Coliseum.
Duke’s quest to win its 20th ACC Tournament title fell short on a day when it received two technical fouls and 28 total fouls against a Virginia team that added the tournament crown to its ACC regular-season championship.
“They were just more physical,” Duke sophomore forward Amile Jefferson said. “I think they knocked us back a little bit at the beginning with their physicality. We were adjusting and we did adjust. But they hit us a couple of times and they were able to make some plays that we didn’t.”
Made shots were a rarity as Duke (26-8) shot just 38.1 percent and Virginia hit 44.7 percent of its shots.
But the Cavaliers (28-6) won the rebounding battle 39-34 and turned their 12 offensive rebounds into 16 points to end Duke’s dream of winning its first ACC Tournament since 2011.
“Our guys played with great composure,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “We needed that.”
Frustrated by Virginia’s tight defense and its own mounting fouls, Duke displayed moments of lost composure that only added to its obstacles.
In the first half, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski received a technical foul when he whirled toward the Blue Devils bench at the end of a timeout and threw his pen to the court. Official Jamie Luckie decided it was a case of Krzyzewski showing him up and assessed the technical.
“I didn’t do it in reaction to anything,” Krzyzewski said. “I can hit my head on the floor. I can do a handstand. I can tumble as long as it’s not a reaction to anybody. There’s no way that there should be a technical foul on that. I mean, that was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Shameful. Shameful.”
Krzyzewski chirped at the officials all day as Duke’s foul total of 28 was nearly twice that of Virginia (15).
Duke’s second technical foul came in the final minutes with Virginia safely in front. Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon missed a 3-pointer and thought he’d been fouled. When no call was made, he pounded the floor, jumped up and yelled in the face of official Tim Nestor.
When Sulaimon used a couple of expletives, Nestor assessed him a technical.
The extra free throws late allowed Virginia to stretch its lead toward double-digits in a game that was far closer than that most of the time. There were eight ties and seven lead changes.
“We fought them,” Duke forward Rodney Hood said. “We didn’t hit shots. That killed us a little bit. Defensive rebounding and finishing on the other end were keys. We just had to adjust to the game and how it was being called.”
With Duke missing 16 of its first 19 shots, Virginia took an early 16-7 lead. But the Cavaliers went eight minutes without a field goal on the way to shooting 34 percent in the first half.
That allowed Duke to chip away at the deficit to trail 28-25 at intermission.
Neither team held a lead of more than three points over the first 14 minutes of the second half with Duke’s Jabari Parker using his offensive versatility to keep the Blue Devils close.
Parker scored 23 points to match Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon for the game high. His step-back 3-pointer put Duke up 45-44 at 9:14 and his basket at 8:36 gave Duke a 47-46 lead.
Parker’s spin move in the lane for a basket at 6:48 tied the score at 51. Hood’s drive to the basket, aided by Marshall Plumlee’s screen, knotted the score at 53-all with 6:04 to play.
But by then, Duke’s fouls had mounted enough to impact the Blue Devils’ ability to play defense. Jefferson had four fouls and so did Sulaimon and senior guard Tyler Thornton.
Brogdon put Virginia ahead for good at 55-53 when he drove through the lane with no resistance for a basket. After Thornton fired a pass over Duke’s bench for a turnover, Akil Mitchell tipped in Joe Harris’ miss with 5:03 left giving Virginia a two-possession lead for the first time in the half.
Virginia led 59-53 when Duke made a final push. Hood scored in the lane and, after a Cavaliers’ turnover, Sulaimon sank a 19-foot jumper from the left corner slicing Virginia’s lead to 59-57.
But Mitchell rebounded a Brogdon miss to score with 2:22 left. Virginia’s Anthony Gill stole the ball from Parker and Harris drilled a 3-pointer in transition to give the Cavaliers a 64-57 lead with 2:00 to play.
With Parker being held scoreless over the final six and a half minutes of play, Duke was unable to rally again.
Mitchell, who had 15 rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal, was the primary reason for that.
“He’s athletic and he anticipates a lot on the defensive end,” Parker said.
So Duke headed home one win short of a championship but looking forward to trying for another one in the NCAA Tournament.
|No. 6 VIRGINIA 72, No. 7 DUKE 63|
Percentages: FG .381, FT .636.
3-Point Goals: 8-14, .571 (Dawkins 3-5, Hood 2-2, Parker 2-4, Cook 1-2, Sulaimon 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 6.
Blocked Shots: 3 (Plumlee 2, Parker).
Turnovers: 6 (Thornton 2, Parker, Sulaimon, Dawkins, Hood).
Steals: 7 (Cook 2, Parker 2, Jefferson, Thornton, Plumlee).
Technical Fouls: Sulaimon, Bench.
Percentages: FG .447, FT .658.
3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Harris 2-5, Brogdon 2-5, Perrantes 1-2).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 5 (Mitchell 2, Atkins 2, Harris).
Turnovers: 8 (Perrantes 4, Anderson 2, Brogdon, Gill).
Steals: 2 (Gill, Mitchell).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Jamie Luckie, Mike Eades, Tim Nestor.