- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Justin Anderson had an easier time accepting that Virginia lost than he did how they lost.

In a season when most talk about the No. 2 Cavaliers has focused on their nation’s-best scoring defensive and top-rated field goal defense, it was those that failed in the end Saturday night, and No. 4 Duke was happy to take advantage of it.

“It’s weird losing that way, because that is who we are,” Anderson said after the Blue Devils made 5 of 6 3-point shots in the closing minutes to rally past the Cavaliers, 69-63. The loss ended Virginia’s 21-game home winning streak, and came after Virginia built an 11-point lead midway through the half.

With a sold-out John Paul Jones Arena on edge and looking for a Cavaliers knockout, it came instead from the Blue Devils. Quinn Cook hit three times from beyond the arc in the final 4:38, Matt Jones connected once and Tyus Jones hit the last one with about 10 seconds left to seal the outcome.

“It comes down to making big shots and plays,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “I thought we let them get rhythm shots. We didn’t really close out and try to distract the shot. That’s something we have to do. There were just enough of those to hurt us.”

The game came at the start of a difficult stretch for Virginia, which plays at No. 13 North Carolina on Monday night and will be back home next weekend for a game against No. 10 Louisville.

“We need to learn from this,” point guard London Perrantes said. “I don’t know exactly what happened right now because I need to watch film, but we shall learn from this and play well on Monday.”

The film will show a stirring comeback by the Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who finished the game with a 16-5 run.

Quinn Cook connected three times from long range in the final 4:38, and Matt Jones and Tyus Jones hit one each.

Virginia (19-1, 7-1) started the second half with a 16-4 burst and led by 11 with just under 11 minutes to play before some ill-advised shots, turnovers and Duke’s blistering shooting turned the tables. Duke finished 28 for 55 (50.9 percent) and became the first team to shot above 50 percent against the Cavaliers.

Malcolm Brogdon led Virginia with 17 points and Justin Anderson had 11.

Duke twice had to close big margins in the closing minutes. The Blue Devils pulled within 49-47 after getting two baskets by Okafor and an assist by the big man for a layup by Matt Jones, but then saw Virginia score the next points to go back ahead 56-47.

A three-point play by Tyus Jones ended the Cavaliers’ run, and after a layup by Perrantes for Virginia, the Blue Devils started connecting.

The meeting was the first of teams in the top five in Charlottesville since No. 3 Virginia beat No. 2 North Carolina 74-58 at University Hall on Feb. 3, 1982, and brought out Virginia royalty like Ralph Sampson and Sean Singletary. They saw a packed house, a big lead, and then a disappointing ending.

TIP-INS:

Duke: The Blue Devils were 6 for 17 on 3-pointers and made five in the last 4:38.

Virginia: Virginia was outscored 14-0 on fast break points. … Anthony Gill, Virginia’s third-leading scorer, finished with just four points after playing only 19 minutes because of foul trouble. … The Cavaliers were 3 for 13 on 3-pointers.

BIG MAN:

Okafor, who also had three assists and five turnovers, was far more physical in the second half and had a tip-in during the game-ending run. He said the coaches told him with about eight minutes remaining to turn the page.

“I was letting my teammate down and I wanted to pick it up for them,” he said.

UP NEXT:

Duke is at home against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.

Virginia plays at No. 13 North Carolina on Monday night.

Follow Hank on twitter at: https://twitter.com/hankkurzjr


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