With 17 seconds remaining in the first half, Virginia guard J.R. Reynolds had just put the Cameron Crazies into a nervous silence.
Sean Singletary stole the ball from J.J. Redick and kicked it out to a wide open Reynolds, who drilled a three-pointer to cap a personal 8-0 run. The Cavaliers had cut a once 18-point Duke lead in half, forcing head coach Mike Krzyzewski to take a timeout.
But Shelden Williams coolly hit a turnaround jumper as time expired, pushing Duke's lead back to double digits. Virginia (10-7, 4-3 in the ACC) would never get any closer as the Blue Devils (19-1, 7-0) cruised to their second consecutive victory, 82-63.
"I thought our final possession of the first half was huge," Krzyzewski said. "From that last TV timeout, they totally outplayed us and got themselves back in, but [Williams' basket] gave us a little bit of momentum."
In the end, the Blue Devils were simply too much for the Cavaliers. On the defensive end, Williams' eight blocks and Sean Dockery's five steals overwhelmed Virginia. The Cavaliers' guards also could not match Greg Paulus' eight-assist effort. But above all, Virginia had no answer for J.J. Redick.
The Roanoke, Va. native shot a career-best percentage-making 11-of-13 shots-for his third-career 40-point effort. The National Player of the Year candidate made his first five attempts.
Dockery set the defensive tone for Duke early by stealing the ball from Sean Singletary three times in the first four minutes. The senior visibly frustrated the Virginia star, helping to hold him to just 13 points-five below his season average.
"Obviously the game got away from us a little bit early," Virginia head coach Dave Leitao said. "I thought that Dockery had a lot to do with it because he took Sean [Singletary] as a challenge and got him off balance a little bit, and everybody else who was on the court for them picked up on it."
Meanwhile, Redick provided all the offensive firepower the Blue Devils would need in the first half, scoring 11 points during a game-opening 20-2 run. The senior finished the half with 16 points, just eight fewer than Virginia.
The Cavaliers, however, capitalized on 15 Duke turnovers during the first period to claw their way back into the game. After Reynolds' three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining, Krzyzewski became so frustrated with Duke's offense that at one point he slammed his chair in anger on the sideline.
"We played great halfcourt defense, but then we had 15 turnovers in the first half, and they got eight straight points in transition, and we went from being up 17 to being up nine within the span of just a couple of minutes," Redick said. "That was kind of frustrating for us because we knew we had played well. We just hadn't taken care of the ball."
Coming out of the locker room after the break, Williams hit a short jumper that sparked a Blue Devil run that swelled the lead to as much as 29 points. Williams barely missed his second career triple-double, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks. But the night belonged to Redick, who scored at will against every defender the Cavaliers sent at him. In fact, Redick didn't even miss a second-half shot until a missed free throw with less than nine minutes remaining in the game.
"It was just an incredible performance," Krzyzewski said. "I mean, are you kidding me? 11 out of 13 and eight out of 10 from three? I'm not sure how many times he hit the rim."
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