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LIVE BLOG: Duke 76, Virginia 60

Possible Starters: Virginia (10-6, 1-1 in the ACC): Jontel Evans, Mustapha Farrakhan, Assane Sene, Will Sherrill, KT Harrell

No. 1 Duke: Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Andre Dawkins, Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee

PREGAME: I'm here with Tom Gieryn in Cameron Indoor Stadium for today's match up between the Blue Devils and the Cavaliers. Unfortunately, although today's game will be broadcast in Mandarin Chinese for the first time in Duke history, this live blog is going to have to stick to English. Duke has won 13 straight games against Virginia in Cameron Indoor Stadium and is looking to extend that record through today after a disappointing defeat against Florida State on Wednesday night. Virginia is facing an on the road challenge with today's game being their first road game in 41 days. The Cavaliers are hoping to win their third consecutive road game, a feat it hasn't accomplished since the 2006-07 season. Today's game is Head Coach Tony Bennett's first game at UVA vs. a top-ranked opponent. Jon Scheyer is in Cameron today supporting their former team. On the recruiting end, sitting next to  Austin Rivers is one of the top three recruits for the class of 2012, Shabazz Muhammad.

Sorry everyone we are having a bit of technical difficulties if the posts are coming in a little haphazardly.

Duke/Virginia 11-11 FIRST HALF 10:31 remaining: Virginia Big Man Assane Sene is proving to be a big presence for the Cavaliers on the inside. With two rounds and four points, Sene could present a problem for Duke later on in the game. The other threat coming from Virginia's offense is fast shooting guard Mustapha Farrakhan putting in seven points for Virginia. The Blue Devils still seem to be having some trouble from behind the arch shooting a mere 12.5% from three-point range or 1-8.

Virginia 15-11 FIRST HALF 7:48 remaining: Mason Plumee is really trying to be a strong presence inside for Duke. With nine big rebounds, Plumlee is doing a good job of counter-acting the presence of Sene. Nolan Smith, with five points and Duke's only made three-point shot, has gotten some good looks from the outside and had a controversial drive to the basket that led to an offensive foul. The Blue Devils are having a hard time converting points shooting 19.0% and struggling to get second looks at the basket.

Virginia 19-17 FIRST HALF 5:12 remaining: Duke has had an offensive renaissance of sorts with  shots inside from Dawkins and Kelly bringing them closer in range to Virginia. An offensive foul on Sene proves that the big man is working hard to stay dominant against our posts inside. I would argue that Duke is facing a shot selection problem while Virginia is doing a good job of taking smart shots all the way around.

Again, I apologize for the lack of posts in this first half, techincal problems have led me to loose a lot of my posts. Hoping for more luck in the second half.

Half Time Stats:

  • Virginia is leading the Blue Devils 31-25 going into the second-half
  • Shooting a mere 8.3% from behind the arch, Duke is having a hard time combating the Cavalier's 55.6% shooting percentage from three-point range. The Blue Devils, a typical strong force from this range, are only 1-12 with the only made three coming from Nolan in the first five minutes of the match.

  • The two teams are neck-and-neck when it comes to overall field goal percentages with Duke and Virginia shooting 34.5% and 37.9% respectively
  • Nolan Smith, after a spark in the last five minutes of the first half, is leading all scorers with 13 points. Virginia's Mustapha Farrakhan is close behind with 12 points and shooting 3-3 from behind the arch.
  • This game is already proving to be a back-and-forth mathc with 5 lead changes and three tied scores
  • Virginia is doing a better job of getting second looks at the basket with 9 second chance points compared to Duke's 6.
  • There may not be a stat for this, but the Blue Devils are looking a little haphazard right now. A good play to represent this is when Mason and Nolan went after the same rebound only to have it go out of bounds and have it be Virginia ball.
  • Virginia 42-35 SECOND HALF 15:40 remaining: The second half is looking more promising for Duke already. With four points from Nolan, Singler with a three just inside two minutes and a beautiful three-point play from the inside by Mason Plumlee, the Blue Devils appear more synchronized. Sene continues to be a defensive problem for Duke with a strong block on Smith early on in the second half. The Blue Devils are also having some issues with offensive calls: Singler has been called for a hold off the ball and Nolan has also committed an offensive foul. This is disrupting the flow you can feel Duke trying to build early on in this half. As for Virginia, it seems to be following the same recipe it was last half: trying to keep the tempo at its pace while taking the shots it knows it can make. For example, Virginia has tried to hit the same three-point shot from the corner four times already this half.

    Duke, 47-44 SECOND HALF 12:01 remaining: Good passes are helping out the Blue Devils immensely right now. Dawkins had a great inside look to Smith who took it in for 2 points followed by a solid cross-court pass by Smith to Curry which led Curry to the line for three and a Duke lead. These events sparked Duke's offense and even made Dawkins turn to the Crazies for some more support and fire just before taking the ball in for two more big points. An explosive play by Smith all the way to the other end of the court for two forced the Cavaliers into a timeout. The energy is high right now in Cameron Indoor Stadium and it is apparent that Duke doesn't want to have back-to-back losses this early on in the season.

    Duke, 51-48 SECOND HALF 12:01 remaining: I was interested to see how Virginia was going to respond to arguable the best three minutes Duke has seen since the start of the game. The Cavaliers seem to be having little to no trouble with the Blue Devil's zone defense as they are getting some good looks inside and are drawing fouls and the score proves they are working to stay in this game. A steal from Curry early on, Smith's chipped in 3-pointer and a long look deep inside to Kelly for 2 points continue to ignite Duke's offense.

    Duke, 59-52 SECOND HALF 7:34 remaining: Andre Dawkins and second chance looks at the basket. That is was fueling Duke's offense right now. Dawkins pitched in an impressive three right out of the timeout fouled by a missed three, but strong rebounding by Mason and Singler led to two points on Singler's part. Rebounding also allowed Dawkins to get another three point shot off of Smith's missed shot from behind the arch.

    Duke, 64-54 SECOND HALF 3:57 remaining: A weak play on the inside followed later by an ugly foul on Nolan Smith by previously put-together Assane Sene prove that Virginia is  frazzled by Duke's sudden explosion on the other end of the court. The Cavaliers are also facing some problems with fouls on the offensive end which is sending Duke's players to the line for some easy buckets. Dawkins chipped in another three early on after the timeout extending his offensive run to 14 very big points, 12 coming out of this half alone. I'm watching Nolan slow down the ball right now and with a ten point lead, it's obvious the Blue Devils feel in control of this ball game.

    Duke, 68-56 SECOND HALF 2:40 remaining: The Cavaliers decided to turn on the full  court press with three minutes left in the game sending the Blue Devils into a time out to re-strategize their offense. Let's see how Duke responds. Important to note that Virginia is now in double bonus sending Smith to the line for a quick point.

    Duke, 72-56 SECOND HALF 1:54 remaining: Overall, the Cavaliers are looking sloppy with unnecessary turnovers and Duke is capitalizing on that with strong moves to the basket. A turnover by Evans led Smith to take the ball all the way to the end of the court for 2 points, just to be fouled when he got there for a quick three-point play. Virginia has not scored since it turned on the' press.

    Duke, 76-60 SECOND HALF 00.29 remaining: Where is Virginia's defense? In a mere thirty seconds, both Kelly and Singler took it in for easy buckets with little to no presence on the Cavaliers part. As the student section cheers "Our House" in the background, a defeated Virginia seems as if it is giving up.

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