Duke flat in last-second loss to Virginia

The Blue Devils, coming off a big win over rival UNC, weren't "hungry," according to Mike Krzyzewski

Duke forward Theo John reacts as an official calls a jump ball in the closing seconds during Virginia's win Monday in Durham. (Chris Seward / AP Photo)

DURHAM — Reece Beekman hit a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to lead Virginia to a 69-68 win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday.

Playing two days after a 20-point win over rival North Carolina, Duke seemed to lack energy, perhaps suffering from a hangover following the big game. The Blue Devils fell behind early, and coach Mike Krzyzewski called a time out just over three minutes in with Duke trailing 8-2. Coach K said he could already see the problem developing.


“In the first half, we were not able to overcome them and what we just did (on Saturday),” he said. “We looked like a different team.”

Duke struggled to match up with the Cavaliers inside. Virginia scored 52 of its 69 points in the paint and outscored the Blue Devils by 24 points on the inside. Point guard Kihei Clark was responsible for many of those scoring plays, getting nine assists in the game and setting up teammates for short shots, particularly when Duke went to a zone in the second half.

“They’re a team you need a couple days to prepare for,” Coach K said, “because they run everything with such precision. They carved us up.”

Several of Duke’s heroes from Saturday’s win struggled against UVA. AJ Griffin, who led the way with 27 points against the Tar Heels, scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Paolo Banchero, coming off a double-double in Chapel Hill, was held to single digits in scoring for the first time this year as he shot just 3 of 9 from the field and took just one shot in the second half.

“He was getting the ball,” said Krzyzewski. “He’s got to take that jump shot.”

Despite all the problems, Duke was able to make a game of it, cutting a 12-point UVA lead to just five at the half.

“We had to do a whole bunch of different things to massage that game to where we were close at halftime,” said Krzyzewski.

In the second half, Duke pulled ahead and appeared to be close to escaping with a win. With two minutes left to play, Duke had the ball and a two-point lead but couldn’t get off a shot, turning the ball over on a shot clock violation.

“We get the ball in the lane, you have to get a shot, and we weren’t able to get a shot,” said Krzyzewski.

Again up by two with 10 seconds left, Duke defended a UVA layup attempt and Theo John pulled down the rebound. Virginia was able to tie the ball up, however, and get it back on the alternating possession arrow. That set up Beekman’s heroics.

“We put ourselves in position to win,” said Krzyzewski, “but we made two bad plays, one on offense, one on defense. … We missed a defensive assignment on that last play. When you do that, you lose.”

While the turnaround from Carolina to UVA was tough, Krzyzewski brushed off concerns that his team was tired.

“I don’t think it’s exhaustion,” he said. “We’re not in the desert or on a forced march.”

Speaking of March, Krzyzewski also pointed out that the quick turnaround was what will be required of the team once conference tournament and NCAA play begins.

“It was a tough loss because of how it ended,” he said, “but we were not worthy of winning most of the game. Teams that win are hungry. We’ve got to be hungry after we’ve eaten. They were hungrier and tougher.

“We were fighting human nature,” he continued. “It’s tough to do multiple outstanding things, but if you want to be a champion, you’ve got to.”