FINAL SCORE: Duke 67, Virginia, 49
1:09 2nd Half; Duke 64 , Virginia 45: With 2:52 to go, Meyinsse is taken out of the game along with any chance of Virginia going on any sort of run. If anything has stuck out this game, it would be the Cavalier's inability to get any sort of momentum offensively. While I would like to attribute that to Duke's defense, our performance hasn't been anything special. We are currently tied with Virginia with 27 rebounds and the pressure we have put on the Cavalier's offense has left a lot to be desired. I can't help but think that the energy level of this arena - which has now dropped to about a two - has something to do with it. With one minute to play, impressive play by both Scheyer and Singler led the Blue Devils to victory tonight and hopefully this momentum will carry on to next week's final ACC contests against Maryland and UNC.
4:31 2nd Half; Duke 63 , Virginia 36: Jerome Meyinsse continues to push for Virginia as the only bright spot on their offense with 18 points. Mustapha Farrakhan is the second leading scorer for the Cavaliers but is far behind Meyinsse with only seven points. Scheyer is having a great second half with 13 points giving him 20 points so far - only one behind Singler who has 21 points total and 6 points coming out of the second half. I would also like to point out that a lot of students are leaving the arena because of the score bored. The sea of orange is turning into a scatterplot of empty seats and sad faced fans.
6:51 2nd Half; Duke 56 , Virginia 34: Where is Brian Zoubek tonight? The senior has had an impressive run over the last three games, but only has four rebounds and zero points tonight. I only ask the question because Virginia's inside game is posing very little of a problem for Duke's inside game and both teams are relatively tied in rebounding. Zoubs has had much better games against better opponents recently, but his game doesn't appear to be in Charlottesville tonight.
9:23 2nd Half; Duke 54 , Virginia 29: Mason Plumlee has come in and quickly joined the ranks of top scoring players with two pull-up jumpers over the last interval of play bringing him to 6 points. Scheyer and Singler are still leading the the team in scoring with 15 and 19 respectively. Virginia continues to remain unimpressive on offense shooting 24% from the field. The Cavaliers appear to be only trying to limit Duke's offensive efforts as much as possible rather than fight for a run of their own.
15:43 2nd Half; Duke 42 , Virginia 22: Jon Scheyer came out of the half ready to play. The guard converted two three-point shots in the last four minutes and had a good look from Smith for a full-court layup that didn't work out. Regardless, the player is responding well to the muted environment in John Paul Jones Arena. The energy level is at about a four right now with Cavalier fans getting more excited about silly timeout dance games than about the game itself. I'm sitting next to Cavalier Daily sports editor Jack Bird and we are discussing the relationship between team success and fan base. Bird wrote a column on the subject and commended the Cameron Crazies for their dedication to the program. From the performance seen tonight, the fans in orange t-shirts in the stands need to step it up as much if not more than the players on the court and Bird agrees.
Halftime Duke 35 , Virginia 21: Going into the half, Kyle Singler is still leading the Blue Devils offensively with 15 points. Duke's field goal percentage dropped to 42.9% and it has a three-point field goal percentage of 36.4%. "The Big Three" of Singler, Scheyer, and Smith is missing a standout performance from Smith tonight. The guard only has 4 points and is one of six from the field. Nevertheless, the Cavalier's lackluster offensive efforts has made it easy for the Blue Devils to stay ahead without big numbers from Smith. There have been zero tied scores and zero lead changes posted in the first half. If Virginia is going to have a chance in this contest, Meyinsse needs to continue his offensive run and the Cavaliers need a couple other players to challenge Duke defensively. The Blue Devils' rebounding is mediocre posting a total of 18 rebounds against Virginia's 15. However Scheyer's steady hand has made the Blue Devils hard to defend - Duke only had two turnovers - one from Zoubek and one from Smith - in the first half.
2:56 1st Half; Duke 31 , Virginia 18: Jerome Meyinsse just got the crowd to its feet with an impressive dunk. The senior guard has 8 points and is doing his best to fill the large offensive shoes of injured Sylen Landesberg. 70 appears to be the magic number for Virginia as the team is 11-1 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 3-11 this season when scoring less than 70 points. With a field goal percentage of 32% and only 18 points towards the end of the first half, the Cavaliers have a long way to go if they are going to hit their magic again tonight.
6:53 1st Half; Duke 27, Virginia 14: It's almost as if Virginia players Mustapha Farrakhan and Sammy Zeglinkski are avid Chronicle Sports Blog readers as soon after I made my comment about a lack of three-point shots for the Cavaliers, both players sunk a shot from behind the arch. Virginia's offense looks a lot more aggressive coming out of the timeout, but Duke is responding well to the increase in intensity by staying consistent at their end of the court as well. Virginia's field goal percentage has increased to 28% while the Blue Devils' has remained steady at 50%. Singer is leading Duke with 12 points followed by Scheyer with 7.
11:26 1st Half; Duke 19, Virginia 4 : Field goal percentages are telling it all right now. While Duke is shooting 50% from the field, Virginia is shooting a mere 8%. In addition, the Blue Devils are 33% in the field for three's and the Cavaliers have yet to make one. Scheyer posted two impressive three's and a steal leading the Blue Devils offensively over the last interval of play.
15:48 1st Half; Duke 7, Virginia 2: If one thing in apparent early on in the game, it's Singler's determination and drive. Not only has the junior scored five points, but he took a dramatic leap into the stands after a loose ball and ended up falling on top of a Cavalier fan. Virginia seems to be having a hard time covering the perimeter of Duke's offense as Singler's three-point shot and Thomas's quick outside jumper were both taken with very little coverage from the Cavaliers.
Pregame: We were just informed that Sylen Landesberg will not be playing tonight for Virginia because of injuries sustained Wednesday against Miami. This will affect the Cavalier's strategy dramatically as the sophomore has led the team offensively throughout the season. Junior guard Jeff Jones will replace Landesberg in the lineup. Jones has averaged 11.0 ppg in the last four games.
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Pregame: A six-game losing streak is not exactly the record that a team would like to enter the game against their highest-ranked opponent of the year. However, Virginia (14-12, 5-8 in the ACC), finds themselves in that situation tonight in John Paul Jones Arena. Duke (24-4, 11-2) leads 110-48 in the two team's series history and has won the last three meetings. Virginia's last win over a top-five opponent was an 87-84 win over No. 3 Duke on Feb. 28, 2002 (exactly eight years ago) at University Hall. Duke is Virginia's fourth opponent of the season to be ranked by the AP and the Cavaliers are 3-0 this season versus ranked opponents. Virginia seeks to extend this streak tonight under the leadership of sophomore Sylven Landesberg. The starting guard has posted nine 20-point games this season and is the top active career scoring average leader in the ACC at 17.0 ppg for his career. Duke is coming back from a 70-52 win over Tulsa on Thursday for its seventh straight victory. Junior Nolan Smith scored a game-high 18 points and Kyle Singler finished with 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Senior Brian Zoubek recorded his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Possible Starting Lineup for Duke: Smith, Singler, Scheyer, Thomas, Zoubek
Possible Starting Lineup for Virginia: Baker, Zeglinkski, Landesberg, Scott, Meyinsse