Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs Virginia

Propelled by a buzzer-beater from sophomore Grayson Allen, Duke finished off a big comeback and defeated No. 7 Virginia in a 63-62 thriller Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Despite finding themselves down 11 in the first half, the Blue Devils pulled off their second consecutive victory against a ranked opponent behind a big performance from forward Brandon Ingram. 

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Find the range from deep: Thanks to a combined eight 3-pointers between Ingram and junior Matt Jones, the Blue Devils outscored the Cavaliers 24-6 from long-range. Although it was not a good day for Allen from distance—the sophomore missed all four of his attempts—Ingram and Jones stepped up and compensated for Duke's struggles in the paint—where it was outscored by 14 points. 
  • Pressure the ball: Although the Cavaliers shot 48 percent from the field in the game, Duke was able to handle their perimeter playmakers, despite forcing just seven turnovers. Guard London Perrantes was held to eight points thanks in part to a solid defensive performance from freshman guard Derryck Thornton. Virginia was almost entirely dependent on big man Anthony Gill and guard Malcolm Brogdon—a duo that averaged almost 32 points per game entering Saturday's contest—for offense 
  • Limit turnovers: Against the third-lowest scoring defense in the nation, the Blue Devils took care of the ball and reduced their turnover total from 13 against Louisville Monday to 10 against the Cavaliers. Virginia only posted eight points off turnovers and could not get easy buckets in the open court in transition. But head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad still has a few lessons to learn as Duke gave the ball away three straight times with a 51-44 lead, allowing the Cavaliers to regain some momentum and make a late run. 

Three key plays:

  • 1:04 remaining, first half: Ingram attacked the rim from the left side of the court and dunked the ball with Gill and another Virginia defender in the area. The slam made it a one-point game and was the forward's eight straight point for the team. 
  • 12:16 remaining, second half: The Blue Devils notched their largest lead of the evening at 51-44 thanks to a triple from Jones. Freshman guard Luke Kennard fed Allen, who immediately found Jones in the right corner for a momentum-shifting shot.
  • 0:01 remaining, second half: With 11 seconds left to play, Brogdon scored on a reverse flip layup that gave the Cavaliers a 62-61 lead. But on the next play, Duke would win it. Allen came off his inbound pass to center Marshall Plumlee and retrieved the ball with time winding down. Despite Gill’s challenge, the Blue Devil guard attacked the basket and hung in the air for an acrobatic finish as the final buzzer rang. 

Three key stats:

  • Virginia shoots only 2-of-11 from downtown: The Cavaliers shot a season-low 18 percent from long-range in a game where even one extra triple would've been enough for a win. Brogdon hit just one of his six attempts from deep and Perrantes—who was one of the top shooters in the ACC entering this game—could not find his way and failed to connect on a three for only the fourth time this season. 
  • The Blue Devils survive despite shooting 9-of-16 from the free-throw line: After three consecutive games with perfect shooting numbers from the charity stripe, Allen was off the mark and connected on only seven of his 11 attempts from the line. Before hitting the final basket, the guard nearly cost his team the game when he missed a pair of free-throws that could have iced the game. Ingram and Plumlee also combined to hit just one of their five free-throws. 
  • The Blue Devils start their key stretch 2-0: After starting a season-defining four-game stretch with a 72-65 victory against No. 13 Louisville Monday and coming away with a win Saturday, the Blue Devils find themselves back near the top of the ACC standings. Despite their slow start in conference play, Duke seems to have finally broken through and found its identity behind the dynamic duo of Allen and Ingram. 

And the Duke game ball goes to… Grayson Allen

Although Ingram delivered a standout performance that included a game-high 25 points and 18 straight points for the team at one point, it was Allen's heroics that saved the game for his team. Not only did he clinch Duke’s victory with a remarkable buzzer-beater, but he also added seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists. Perhaps the most impressive part of the sophomore's game was his ability to respond from missing two big free-throws by calling for the ball with the game on the line. 

And the Virginia game ball goes to… Malcolm Brogdon

The senior guard led the Cavaliers’ offense with a team-high 18 points. Each time the Atlanta native grabbed the ball in the second half, every Duke fan feared something bad could happen as Brogdon seemed to make tough shots on nearly ever possession. In the final 20 minutes, the guard scored nine points down the stretch to tie the game at 55 and appeared to win the game when he made a layup that gave Virginia a momentary 62-61 lead with only 11 seconds to play. 

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