Virginia never strayed from that approach, even when shots didn't fall, even when Duke (18-3, 6-3 ACC) charged. The Blue Devils feature the nation's second-most efficient offense, a fast-paced, multifaceted attack powered by future National Basketball Association draft picks Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen and Wendell Carter. The second-youngest team in the country (only Kentucky is younger) had its freshmen making all sorts of mistakes: Point guard Trevon Duval was sloppy at times and electric in others, as seems to be his M.O. this season. "So when we are hitting on all cylinders, it's actually really fun to play defense like that". "And they do a great jobs with the rotations especially the big guys". If Duke can get into the top 40 or so in defensive rankings, they'll have as good of a shot as anyone to cut down the nets.
The Cavaliers carried a 10-point first-half lead into the second, but Duke came storming back. "But we didn't have enough to win the game today".
Saturday's game will be Duke's biggest test since it revamped its defense after an embarrassing 96-85 loss to N.C. State on January 6.
"They were really tough".
"It's going to be a really good test for us, and we're looking forward to it", Virginia guard Kyle Guy said.
If one thing was apparent in Saturday's game, it's that the Blue Devils need to work on their rebounding out of the 2-3 zone.
Then factor in upstart freshman De'Andre Hunter and Rutgers transfer Nigel Johnson as key contributors. Guy, Jerome and Devon Hall were all workhorses in Virginia's backcourt who played most of the game as well, but the Cavaliers' single hidden weapon off the bench was one more than Duke had. Markell Johnson sealed the victory with two free throws with 3.0 seconds left, capping his own big day with 20 points and 11 assists. Marques Bolden was also not quite ready to return from his knee injury.
Another fun match-up to watch down low will be between Marvin Bagley of Duke and Jack Salt of Virginia.
You could argue style of play was a factor.
CBS All Access: This service lets you watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included), as well as all of CBS' on-demand library. They led early, 6-5, but played catch up the rest of the first half, relinquishing a 20-13 run to the Cavaliers over a 12-minute span. For those who wrote the Cavaliers off after they lost leading scorer and point guard London Perrantes, who graduated, and three others to transfer in the offseason, it's clear now - if it wasn't already - that Tony Bennett's program is built for sustainability. The reason I choose these players is the consistent, yet under the radar impact these two have in wins and losses. "And then I remembered as soon as it was on my fingertips, like, 'Damn, I shouldn't have thrown that pass'".
The Cavaliers also average more steals and turnovers forced in addition to being first in adjusted defense in efficiency ratings posted by the analytical website KenPom.com, although Virginia still has demanding road games left against not only the Blue Devils but Florida State, Syracuse, Miami and Louisville.
The final quarter did not get any better for the Eagles, with Duke's reserves playing to the level that its starters had over the course of the opening three periods.