Duke Outlasts Virginia

By Fidelis Lusompa, Palestra.Net

Greensboro, N.C.–A first round bye didn’t seem to hurt the No. 1 seeded Duke Blue Devils too much as a second half run put away the ninth seeded Virginia Cavaliers 57-46, and gave the Devils a spot in the semifinals of the 2010 ACC tournament. Duke will face Miami Saturday after the Hurricanes pulled off their second straight upset. Miami knocked off Virginia Tech 70-65 Friday.

Duke’s run was led by the trio of senior Jon Scheyer, juniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, giving the Devils a 11 point victory.

Singler led the Devils with 18 points and 11 boards, followed by Scheyer and Smith, both finishing the day with 15 points apiece.

Duke has won the ACC tournament eight out of the last 11 years. Coach Mike Krzyzewski says winning the ACC tournament is big.

“Still, you are looking ahead to next week. You are wondering what is going to happen and how you have to create a sense of urgency for this moment and I thought our team was to do that by the second half.”

The Cavilers now fall under .500 (15-16 overall) and any hopes of postseason play are now dashed. Leading the way for the Cavs was junior guard Jeff Jones with 15 points and junior forward Mike Scott with 14 points.

In his postgame press conference, first year Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his kids battled as hard as he has ever seen them do.

“Credit to Duke for the way they got on the glass and took it to us inside sometimes,” Bennett said. “It looked like we ran out of gas in the last five minutes, but we touched on defensively what we need to become to compete against a team like Duke.”

Bennett said his first year at Virginia was about establishing a foundation.

“It’s how we try to prepare our guys in practice each day, trying to establish a tough mindset on the defensive end-at times we didn’t this year-try to build soundness, and just try to get in our what we call ‘pillars,’ what they mean, our foundational truths to this program.”

Senior Jerome Meyinsse finished the day with eight points and played in his final game in a Blue and Orange uniform. Meyinsse talked about the emotion of playing in his final game.

“I gave my teammates a hug and all of the coaches a hug, and I thanked them for the time and effort,” Meyinsse said. “I just said goodbye to all of them.”