Jay Williams picked Virginia to win, and the Blue Devils make him pay

Duke is no stranger to playing in big-time games, and Saturday's showdown with No. 2 Virginia got the ESPN College Gameday treatment.

Former Blue Devils Jay Bilas and Jay Williams make up half of the show's studio-desk crew, but the Duke products didn't show their team much love before the game.

Asked to pick an ACC team not named Virginia most capable of reaching the Final Four, both Bilas and Williams chose North Carolina. The show's other panelist, former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, went with Louisville.

But things really got interesting in the show's closing moments, when Williams revealed a Virginia No. 50 jersey—the number worn by legendary Ralph Sampson—under his dress shirt, picking the Cavaliers to remain unbeaten and beat the Blue Devils... Read more

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Virginia

Despite trailing by double digits in the second half, the No. 4 Blue Devils rallied and handed No. 2 Virginia its first loss of the season Saturday night with a 69-63 triumph at John Paul Jones Arena. Duke finished the game on an 11-0 run to earn the victory and end the week on a high note after a turbulent beginning to it—which included a heartbreaking loss to No. 8 Notre Dame and the dismissal of guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the team. The win helped the Blue Devils avoid falling to .500 in ACC play and marked their third road victory against a top-10 opponent this season.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Find a way to stay fresh: Starting guards Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook didn’t get many chances to take a breather, but that didn’t stop them from making huge plays down the stretch... Read more

Okafor overcomes slow start against physical Cavalier double-teams

Izzi Clark / The Chronicle

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much preparation and apparently that was the case for Jahlil Okafor Saturday night.

The dominant freshman center practiced all week against hard double teams in preparation for No. 4 Duke’s contest at No. 2 Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena that once the game tipped off, the Blue Devils’ most talented player did something he hadn’t yet in his college career—go the first 16:57 without attempting a shot.

“A lot if it was me—[I had a lot of] dumb turnovers,” Okafor said. “I was anticipating double teams a lot of the time [and] was too eager to make my move. You’ve got to make quick moves to beat the double team. A lot of it was anticipating the double team that wasn’t coming—they just threw different looks at me... Read more

Cook's late triples, leadership power Blue Devils to victory amid hectic week

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—The Blue Devils have played 20 games this season and have already done something almost no team has the chance to—beat three top-six opponents on their home court.

Duke used a furious rally to beat No. 2 Virginia 69-63 Saturday night at John Paul Jones Arena and a major catalyst of its 22-7 closing push in the last 5:08 of the game was senior captain Quinn Cook. The Washington, D.C., native made all three of his 3-pointers—which accounted for nine of his 15 points on the evening—during the stretch. His final triple came with 1:19 left in the game and put the Blue Devils up 66-63, their first lead in more than 17 minutes of game action.

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Krzyzewski ties Dean Smith for most wins in ACC history with No. 422

Coach K reached another notable milestone following Duke's comeback win Saturday night.
Izzi Clark / The Chronicle

Coach K reached another notable milestone following Duke's comeback win Saturday night.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reached the pinnacle of his profession with win No. 1,000 Jan. 25 at Madison Square Garden, but just six days later he achieved another notable accomplishment.

The 67-year old tied North Carolina legend Dean Smith with his 422nd ACC win Saturday night after the No. 4 Blue Devils staged a furious comeback at No. 2 Virginia. Duke closed the game on a 14-2 run to hand the Cavaliers their first loss of the season and stay within striking distance for the ACC regular season title.

After the game, Krzyzewski was as usual not thinking about his latest milestone—it was not brought to his attention by the media and he did not mention it—but instead about what the win could mean for his 18-3 team.

“I’ve really loved my team—they’re tough kids,” Krzyzewski said after win No. 1,001. “We’re young, and we’re not that big. We’re good—we’re not great. We have the potential to be very good, but we’re not there yet. I like my group a lot. They’re not afraid... Read more

Krzyzewski, players speak on Sulaimon dismissal following Virginia game

Kevin Shamieh / The Chronicle

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—After the way Duke stormed back against the No. 2 team in the country Saturday night, it was hard to fathom that just 48 hours earlier the Blue Devils were reacting to a historic decision that put the team in a negative light.

Duke dismissed junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon from its program Thursday afternoon, but the Blue Devils didn't let it affect their play Saturday. Sulaimon is the first player head coach Mike Krzyzewski has ever dismissed. Following Duke’s 69-63 victory at John Paul Jones Arena, Krzyzewski and a few of his players were asked about the Houston native’s departure and its potential impact.

“It’s as hard as the fact that I’ve never done it before. To comment more would be inappropriate. It is tough on everyone—not just on poor, old me. I’m okay. I’m supposed to be the adult. You never like those situations.”—Krzyzewski
“I think it’s inappropriate to comment on that situation right now—we’re just focused on the big-time win we just got... Read more

HALFTIME: Duke 26, Virginia 25

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—No. 2 Virginia leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 49.2 points per game this season.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s answer for the No. 4 Blue Devils?

Push the pace.

After a slow start, Duke (17-3, 4-3 in the ACC) used a 10-0 edge in fastbreak points to build a 26-25 halftime lead at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday night. Freshman swingman Justise Winslow looked healthy for the first time in weeks and led the charge, scoring 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting and adding six rebounds. Star center Jahlil Okafor was held scoreless and without a shot for 17 minutes, facing physical double teams every time he touched the ball. The Chicago native finished the period with just two points but did rack up six rebounds.

Both teams started 1-of-7 from the field before finding a rhythm and combining to make seven of their next eight field goal attempts... Read more

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Virginia

After a turbulent week, No. 4 Duke will look to bounce back from its third conference loss at No. 8 Notre Dame Wednesday in a prime-time showdown at No. 2 Virginia Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. Three keys to the Blue Devils overcoming the recent dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon and knocking the Cavaliers from the ranks of the unbeaten:

Find a way to stay fresh

Duke cannot afford for Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook to fatigue down the stretch like they did Wednesday as the Blue Devils blew a 10-point lead with 10:58 left by only scoring two baskets the rest of the way. Jones and Cook—who played 38 and 40 minutes, respectively— were unable to finish strong after expending a lot of energy to get Duke its 10-point lead. A similar narrative Saturday could mean trouble for Duke facing a team that goes 10 deep and is known for wearing teams down during the course of a 40-minute battle in which they control the tempo... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Virginia

Freshman Grayson Allen has played just 17 minutes in ACC games this year but could be a difference-maker thanks to the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon.
Elysia Su / The Chronicle

Freshman Grayson Allen has played just 17 minutes in ACC games this year but could be a difference-maker thanks to the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon.

After a turbulent week, No. 4 Duke will look to bounce back from its third conference loss at No. 8 Notre Dame Wednesday in a prime-time showdown at No. 2 Virginia Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. Before each game this season, the Blue Zone will select a player on both teams that could make the difference for their respective squads:

Duke: guard Grayson Allen

Due to junior Rasheed Sulaimon’s sudden dismissal Thursday, the often-overlooked Blue Devil freshman will likely be under the microscope Saturday night if and when he checks in. The Jacksonville, Fla., native has played just 17 minutes in ACC games this season, but is now one of just four true guards on Duke's roster and one of the Blue Devils' only hopes to replace Sulaimon's bench production. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wing will need to especially focus on the defensive end of the court, where Duke's guards often struggle... Read more

Duke in the NBA: Irving drops 55 as Cavaliers keep rolling

It was a tough week for the Blue Devils on the court, but a few spectacular performances from a former standout still provided some positive highlights for Duke fans to enjoy:

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: It seemed unlikely that Kyrie Irving could have a better performance later in the week after scoring a then season-high 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting Tuesday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons 103-95. The streaky shooter knocked down 6-of-10 3-pointers and added six assists and three steals in 42 minutes But the fourth-year pro was just getting started.

Irving had a historic performance Wednesday night as the Cavaliers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 for their eight straight win... Read more