- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2010

GREENSBORO, N.C. | Jon Scheyer’s jumpers were coming up just short, and those trademark 3-pointers from the corner were a smidge off.

No matter. With the game on the line, he couldn’t seem to miss — and No. 4 Duke was well on its way back to the Atlantic Coast Conference semifinals.

Scheyer scored seven of his 15 points during the decisive run that helped the top-seeded Blue Devils pull away to beat pesky Virginia 57-46 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.

Kyle Singler had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Nolan Smith also had 15 points while Scheyer, the third member of Duke’s “Big Three,” keyed the 11-0 run that sent them into Saturday’s semifinal against the Miami-Virginia Tech winner.

What makes Scheyer most valuable, coach Mike Krzyzewski said, is “when he does score.”

“He’s that guy that you want on your baseball team who goes 0 for 4, bottom of the eighth, he gets a double, knocks in the winning run,” Krzyzewski said. “He goes onto the next play really well.”

Jeff Jones had 15 points and Mike Scott added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the ninth-seeded Cavaliers (15-16). They got as close as 46-44 in the final 7 minutes, but went scoreless for nearly 6 minutes and were denied their first semifinal berth since 1995.

“We looked like we ran out of a little gas maybe the last 5 minutes,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “I think we had Duke nervous for a little while, but they showed why they’re a heck of a team. They’re so well-coached and so poised. When it got time to make the plays, they certainly made some.”

Especially Scheyer, who finally found his touch. The senior missed 12 of his first 14 shots before getting hot just in time for the Blue Devils.

Smith started the decisive run by sticking back Singler’s miss to make it 48-44 with about 6 minutes left. Scheyer banked in a jumper, Singler added a putback and Scheyer took things over from there, knocking down a pretty hanging jumper and converting a three-point play that gave Duke its largest lead, 57-44, with 2:32 left.

“I wasn’t in a very good rhythm in the beginning of the game,” Scheyer said. “And I just started playing head games a little bit. Finally, I just started attacking and not (worrying) about if I was missing.”

Duke, the defending tournament champion and its No. 1 seed for the 17th time, became the winningest team in the tournament’s history with its 85th victory. The regular season co-champion Blue Devils entered tied with rival North Carolina, which will have to wait until next year to catch them after going one-and-done Thursday night.

For the fifth time in six games, the Blue Devils held a team to 55 or fewer points. They shot 46 percent in the second half to claim their 12th semifinal berth in 13 years and their second double-figure win against Virginia in 12 days.

But the Cavaliers didn’t allow this one to be anywhere near as one-sided as the 67-49 beating they received in Charlottesville.

Virginia rallied from an 11-point deficit midway through the half by reeling off nine straight points, a burst capped by Mustapha Farrakhan’s 3-pointer with 6:22 left that turned out to be the Cavaliers’ last field goal of the game. By the time they scored again, on Jones’ free throws with 24.3 seconds left, the outcome had been decided.

“We had some breakdowns where we ran into a screen and lost vision, and he was just a little cold and a little off,” Bennett said of Scheyer. “But he certainly made some plays down the stretch. And as I said before, every time we were out of position or had a breakdown, they made us pay. He did, certainly. That’s really the mark of a team. You’ve got to minimize your breakdowns against teams like that, or they just cut your heart out, and that’s what they did to us down the stretch.”

The hot streak that carried Scheyer never came for his counterpart. Sammy Zeglinski, who was coming off a season-best 21-point performance in a first-round win against Boston College, struggled mightily against the Blue Devils, missing all nine of his shots — including two layups in a late 3-second span that epitomized his day. He also turned it over five times.

“I got a couple of looks at the rim, but I just wasn’t able to knock them down,” Zeglinski said. “I just tried to let the game come to me a little bit but I just wasn’t able to make the big shot when we needed them.”

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