RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson lead Duke past Virginia | College Basketball Highlights
Feb 12 2019
Saturday will be about Virginia getting their points from 3-point land.
And that's because Rick Barnes' team has been rolling since losing a neutral-court game to Kansas the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm simply not going to drop a team that's now on an 18-game winning streak featuring a victory over the Gonzaga team ranked second (that beat the Duke team ranked third).
In completing the regular-season sweep over Virginia on Saturday night, the Blue Devils hit 13 of 21.
You can't blame Virginia coach Tony Bennett for hoping the Blue Devils attempted as many 3-pointers as possible. Its previous high was eight to Notre Dame on 29 attempts.
Duke made 13 of 21 shots from 3-point range. "The quick turnaround is good for us to try to move on".
Duke's smoking hot shooting start to the game, including uncharacteristically good 3-point shooting, helped the Blue Devils lead by 14 points on two occasions and 35-22 with 4:18 to play in the half.
Duke saved its best 3-point shooting night of the season for one of is biggest games on Saturday night.
Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) moved to the No. 1 spot in the AP poll after Duke (21-2, 9-1 ACC) lost to Syracuse on January 14.
"We were just in our zone and it's great to see when our team is like that", Barrett said. Let's go through four of the top five teams in the most recent AP poll (Virginia's loss over the weekend evidently excludes the Cavaliers from this discussion for now).
Williamson is the nation's only player averaging 20.0+ points and shooting.650+ from the field. Jones added two free throws not long after, and Duke led 59-49.
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski says, "Whenever they kind of had a run, one of our guys answered".
Duke hit 8-of-11 three's in the first half alone, including the first five of the game. In the 2+ games that Tre Jones missed, Duke's steal percentage was 6.0.
It's hard to find fault in Bennett's plan, just as it wasn't when Notre Dame's Brey saw the Blue Devils hit nine of 16 while beating his Irish 83-61 back on January 28.
"Keep in mind that Duke is the best shot-blocking team and second-best stealing team in college basketball". He also leads the ACC in assists (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.8). "Just as a point guard, he's always been able to control the game". The junior was unavailable for the February 2 game against Miami, the first time he has sat out in his career - a span of 89 games. Duke's home games in this stretch are back-to-back rivalry match-ups versus NC State and No. 8 North Carolina...
"I didn't know for sure until about Thursday that I was going to play", Jerome said. "So we've practiced it a lot more".
Virginia was shorthanded in the 2nd half without Mamadi Diakite, who collided with Hunter in the 1st half, and never returned to the game.
It's unclear, according to Bennett, whether Diakite will be available against the Tar Heels. "He was playing really well".
Virginia definitely has been a team that consistently plays Duke tough.