DUKE 79, UVA 54, FINAL: And that's a wrap. More after post-game interviews.
DUKE 79, UVA 52, 38.4: Scratch that. Johnson just made a layup with the foul. That's the first bucket of his career, giving him a career-high of... two points!
DUKE 77, UVA 52, 1:27: Maybe it was the Plumlee alley-oop off the inbound, maybe it's the fact that Johnson just checked in, or maybe it was Williams' fast-break dunk, but Cameron is rocking again. And now the Crazies are singing happy birthday to the walk-on. More after the game.
DUKE 70, UVA 48, 3:22: The starters have been deservedly relegated to the bench, and Coach K has been good about getting some of the reserves more time than they're used to. Miles Plumlee, with his brother, Mason, in attendance, has played for the past few minutes and threw down a dunk in the process. Elliot Williams has also seen the floor, playing with Paulus and Scheyer so he doesn't have to be the primary ball-handler.
For those wondering, Marty Pocius hasn't seen the floor becuase he cut his finger after Tuesday's practice and needed 10 stitches. He was also out for the Wake Forest game, not that he would have played major minutes in that one.
The Crazies are begging Krzyzewski to insert junior walk-on Steve Johnson. It's his birthday!
DUKE 65, UVA 42, 7:51: There's less to report with every media timeout. This game is safely in the bag, and some reporters are already leaving press row to start their stories and get home for the Super Bowl. So what can we tell you? Well, Henderson scored his first points of the half on a pretty fadeaway, the kind that draws him comparisons to Kobe Bryant. Smith hung in the air for longer than any human should, rimmed home a shot and then flashed a smile to the Duke bench.
Let's turn it over to you, then. Any impressions of the game? Are you even still watching?
DUKE 61, UVA 37, 11:26: It hasn't mattered that Henderson looks like a shadow of himself now, precisely because he was so good in the first half--plus, Virginia doesn't have enough offensive firepower to make up a 24-point deficit. There's also the fact that the Blue Devils have become more offensively balanced in the second half.
I wonder if someone told Paulus before the game that he needs to shoot, no matter if he's making threes or not. He seems quicker on the trigger today than he has been all season, even when his attempts are rimming out. Two possessions ago, he offered a clunker, and when Dave McClure grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked out to Paulus, the senior shot immediately, this time making the 3-pointer. Paulus is up to nine points, and even though he hasn't played particularly well, he's made more of an impact on this contest than he usually does.
DUKE 54, UVA 29, 15:08: Henderson hasn't scored after intermission, but he's making his presence felt in different ways. He has already found a wide-open Jon Scheyer for two threes, lifting Scheyer's total output to 11 points. He joins Henderson and Smith in double figures. Kyle Singler, who tallied just one free throw in the first half, has also become more active this half.
And in what might be the most entertaining development of this blowout, the Cameron Crazies yelled at Virginia's Mike Scott to tuck his shirt in. He didn't. They continued for a few seconds. He still didn't tuck it in. A few minutes later, a referee instructed him to tuck his shirt in, triggering a rousing chorus of jeers from the student section. If only they had pestered him for longer.
DUKE 43, UVA 21, HALFTIME: Henderson and Smith lead Duke with 16 and 11 points, respectively, while Landesberg and Mike Scott pace Virginia with eight points apiece. The most shocking statistic: Duke has forced 17 Cavalier turnovers in just 20 minutes and has scored 20 points off of those turnovers. Virginia's points off takeaways? Zilch.
DUKE 43, UVA 21, HALFTIME: Remember the questioning of Paulus from the last update? Well that's why he's a Division-I point guard and we're sitting in the front row. With the clock winding down before halftime, Duke found Paulus for a contested three from the corner. Unconcerned about his cold touch, Paulus launched his seventh three of the half--and this one found the bottom of the net, prompting Mike Krzyzewski to raise his arms in excitement. As the teams were running off, Coach K pointed at Paulus and said, "That's it, Greg!" It was that kind of half for the Blue Devils, who did little wrong. Another update once we get the official boxscore.
DUKE 39, UVA 21, 2:43: Interesting lineup for Duke over the past few minutes. Nolan Smith and Greg Paulus have played together, with Paulus taking point guard responsibilities and Smith at shooting guard. The only problem? Paulus can't buy a basket today. He's 0-for-6 from 3-point land, and he even missed a free throw. Paulus' trigger-happiness is a bit out of character. Usually when he's not feeling it, he becomes more of a traditional pass-first point guard, which would make even more sense with Smith and Henderson on the floor to take over scoring duties. Paulus is back on the bench now, replaced by Scheyer, so we'll see Smith in more of his comfort zone now.
DUKE 34, UVA 14, 7:33: Welcome, loyal readers, to Gerald Henderson's world. We're all just living in it.
Henderson has been Duke's best player in the last three weeks, but he's taking his play to a new level in this half. The junior already has 16 points--more than the entire Virginia team, for those of you scoring at home. What's most impressive, though, is how easily he's scoring. Early in his career, Henderson could have a great game and he'd only score 16 points. Now, it seems more effortless. Two free throws here, a steal and a breakaway dunk there, and there's another dunk.
After the first dunk, Henderson spread his wings to mimic flying, like he did against Maryland. He may want to patent that symbol sooner rather than later.
DUKE 26, UVA 11, 10:24: What do Henderson and Smith provide for this team when the two athletic guards are on? Let's look at the last two plays. Henderson swishes a three from the corner, giving him a game-high 10 points, and on the next possession, Smith steals a pass near halfcourt, dribbles through three Virginia defenders, lays the ball up and secures the and-one. Smith misses the free throw, but he still has nine points. Landesberg is waiting to check in now, and Henderson is going back to the line for two.
DUKE 19, UVA 9, 11:56: After Smith nailed a three to move to a game-high seven points, the Cavaliers dropped back into a 2-3 zone to try to throw the Blue Devils out of their rhythm. Duke struggled in its first two possessions against the zone, settling for long threes with the shot clock winding down, but it has found a comfort level. Paulus missed a long three and Scheyer snuck in for an easy put-back rebound with the entire Virginia team on the perimeter, and on the next posssession, Henderson cut to the basket, the Cavaliers collapsed on him, and he kicked to Scheyer, who sank an open three. Surprisingly, Elliot Williams was Duke's first reserve, and for those of who you may be wondering, the freshman has made two threes on the season--sometimes, it feels like less. No sign of Landesberg yet. We'll see how long Dave Leitao can keep him on the bench.
DUKE 11, UVA 5, 15:49: Virginia certainly isn't Wake Forest, but the Duke offense has already looked better in about four minutes than it did in most of its loss to the Demon Deacons. Gerald Henderson hasn't hesitated at all, hitting a three to start the game and following it up with a pull-up jumper a few minutes later, and Nolan Smith has slashed for four points. Duke has also taken two charges, both from Virginia's best player, Sylven Landesberg, who is on the bench saddled with two fouls. It's not looking good for the Cavaliers, who had the misfortune to play Duke coming off a loss--and now that its leading scorer might be out for a while, the Blue Devils could put this one away early.
PREGAME: Starting lineups: Smith, Singler, Henderson, Scheyer, Thomas for Duke; Sene, Zeglinski, Landesberg, Scott and Diane for the Cavaliers.
PREGAME: The Cameron crowd just honored the late swimming and diving head coach Bob Thompson, who died last Saturday, with a moment of silence. On a more positive note, both Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee are sitting behind the Duke bench, both clad in dark green jumpsuits. That has to make Blue Devil fans anxious for next season.
PREGAME: All of Virginia and Duke's coaches are sporting white sneakers instead of dark loafers. The Duke coaches' kicks look a little more embellished than usual, though, as Coach K definitely has a blue swoosh on his. He's also wearing a jacket that we're not used to seeing--if someone can get a better look at it, let us know what it looks like to you.
PREGAME: The number of students here is up to 405, but for 20 minutes before the game, that's still paltry. When I walked into Cameron about 10 minutes ago, the part of the student section closest to the band was almost completely empty--and that's with the athletic department selling all the seats on the non-television side, forcing those who usually stand there to jump on the other side. The graduate students will likely fill in and make it look acceptable for television, but the athletic department must have been onto something in selling a good chunk of seats today.
PREGAME: Duke students may have waited at their computers to register for White Tents Saturday night (although we're hearing that there were plenty of problems with registration, too), but few are anxious to watch the No. 1 Blue Devils play Virginia today. We've heard reports that Cameron Indoor Stadium is empty, with only 275 students in Cameron an hour before the game. Even the Line Monitors begged students to come on their Twitter feed, filing an update at 1 p.m. that there are more than 500 seats remaining. It's interesting to see how m
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