Duke got back to its winning ways on Saturday, with a 76-60 victory over a scrappy Virginia squad in Cameron Indoor Stadium, as 2012 stud Shabazz Muhammad and 2011 commit Austin Rivers looked on from behind the bench.
The Devils played a lifeless and inconsistent brand of basketball for the first 25 minutes of the game —we were still hung over from Wednesday night’s loss against Florida State. The Crazies were lukewarm at best as Nolan, Kyle, and company struggled to find rhythm on offense and failed to get stops on defense.
Faced with a 44-39 deficit early in the second half, top gunners Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins—who finished with 7 and 14 points, respectively—sparked a Duke Run™ that would allow the Devils to close out the game outscoring the Cavaliers by 19.
The game changed on a Dawkins steal and vicious breakaway dunk by @NdotSmitty that literally brought the house down (Yes, our own Scott and Arun are among the only survivors). Smith finished with 29 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists in yet another dominant performance. Ryan Kelly also had a respectable game inside, scoring 8 points in the paint, while Mason Plumlee collected a career high 16 rebounds – the most by any Duke player this season.
Despite cold shooting and uninspired defense for much of the game, Duke pulled out a gritty, hard-fought win against an underrated Virginia team. There’s obviously a lot to improve, but a win is a win. This team will continue to grow as Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry become more and more comfortable with their roles. There will be growing pains, but this team is still pretty damn good. All in all, it was a fun game this afternoon in Cameron.
We’ll be back in action next Wednesday in Raleigh to face the Wolfpack of N.C. State.