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College basketball: Duke vs Virginia

February 2, 2007 12:50 am

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Virginia forward Laurynas Mikalauskas (11) battles for the ball with Duke's John Scheyer (30) last night. spuva0202.jpg

Virginia's Sean Singletary (left) looks for help as Duke defender Gerald Henderson applies pressure last night.

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

CHARLOTTESVILLE--The stage was set for the University of Virginia men's basketball team to upset No. 8 Duke last night.

Several former Cavaliers stars, including Curtis Staples and Roger Mason Jr., were among the sold-out crowd of 15,219 spectators who packed John Paul Jones Arena.

The team's mascot, Cav Man, made his way onto the court on a Harley before pre-game introductions.

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they lived up to the hype.

Cavaliers All-ACC point guard Sean Singletary sent the game into overtime with a jumper from 18 feet away with 24.8 seconds remaining, and in the extra period, he drained a baseline floater with one second remaining to give Virginia a thrilling 68-66 Atlantic Coast Conference victory, its fifth straight win.

Duke point guard Greg Paulus missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win.

Senior shooting guard J.R. Reynolds led Virginia (14-6, 6-2 ACC) with 25 points. Singletary added 17.

Virginia is now 11-1 at its new home.

The Cavaliers had lost 10 straight to the Blue Devils (18-4, 5-3) and 22 out of 24 before last night's win. The victory puts Virginia in a three-way tie for second-place in the ACC with Virginia Tech and Boston College.

The Blue Devils went into the game ranked last in the ACC in scoring offense (69.7 points per game), but first in scoring defense (56.0).

Duke is also second in the conference in field goal percentage defense.

Those statistics helped foreshadow what the Cavaliers were up against last night.

In the first half, Virginia shot just 38 percent from the field.

Duke was efficient, shooting 55 percent and knocking down three 3-pointers en route to building a 13-point advantage.

It led 36-29 at halftime.

However, Virginia rallied in the second half and tied the game at 49 on three Reynolds free throws with 7:14 left.

Duke went ahead 51-49 on a basket from McRoberts that began a 10-2 run. A DeMarcus Nelson 3 from the left corner gave Duke a 57-51 lead and McRoberts scored as he was fouled by Virginia senior forward Jason Cain to put Duke in front 59-51.

The Cavaliers led briefly at 6-4 on a Reynolds drive to the basket.

But that was their last lead of the half.

Duke got nine first-half points from Nelson, eight from sophomore Paulus and seven from McRoberts.

The Blue Devils went on an 11-3 run to take a 15-9 lead on a Nelson 3 from the left wing.

After Virginia battled back to within 15-14 on a Singletary 3, the Blue Devils scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 24-16 lead.

The advantage grew to 34-21 on a David McClure tip-in. It was the Cavaliers largest home deficit since they trailed Arizona by 19 points before rallying for a 93-90 victory in the first-ever men's game in the new arena.

The Cavaliers were able to hang around late in the first half. Mamadi Diane drained a 3 to cut the deficit to 34-26 and Singletary and Laurynas Mikalauskas combined to make three-of-four free throws in the final minute to keep Virginia within striking distance.

Virginia was able to draw closer early in the second half.

Diane drilled a deep jumper from the left corner to open the half. A short Reynolds turn-around jumper pulled the Cavaliers within three points at 38-35, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

After Duke went back ahed 43-37 on a tip-in from freshman Gerald Henderson, the Cavaliers rallied again.

This time, it was five straight points from Reynolds, including a 3 from the right wing off a pass from freshman Solomon Tat that pulled Virginia within one point, 43-42.

But one key stretch put the Cavaliers back in a five-point hole.

When they had a chance to take their first lead since 6-4, freshman Will Harris missed a short jumper and senior Jason Cain blew a point blank put-back. McRoberts then scored four straight points in the paint to give Duke a 47-42 lead, prompting Cavaliers coach Dave Leitao to take a 30-second timeout with 9:26 remaining.

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-
Email: 5526tcoghill@freelancestar.com



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