- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 31, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The scouting report clearly emphasized that Quinn Cook is always looking to make the big play, and Duke’s talented senior guard did that on Saturday.

Cook erased the remnants of an 11-point deficit by making a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:16 remaining, and No. 4 Duke halted No. 2 Virginia’s pursuit of a perfect season with a 69-63 victory at John Paul Jones Arena.

Freshman guard Tyus Jones had a team-high 17 points, including a backbreaking 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left, and freshman forward Justise Winslow had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3 ACC), who were down by double figures with 8:56 remaining.

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Junior guard Malcolm Brodgon had 17 points and junior guard Justin Anderson added 11 for the Cavaliers (19-1, 7-1 ACC), who had won their previous 21 home games and were trying to extend their best start to a season since 1980-81, when they won their first 23 games.

The Cavaliers led 63-58 when sophomore guard London Perrantes connected with Anderson on a lob pass that brought the sellout crowd to its feet. They would not score again, however, with the Blue Devils getting a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Matt Jones and a basket in the paint before Cook made his 3-pointer.

Junior center Mike Tobey was fouled on the other end, missed the front end of a one-and-one and then failed to score despite a pair of offense rebounds. Virginia coach Tony Bennett elected to let his team play out the next possession without taking a timeout to regroup, and the shot clock showed just a couple of seconds remaining before Tyus Jones drained a 3-pointer from the top right of the arc.

“It is weird losing that way, because that’s what we pride ourselves [on],” Anderson said after the game, referring to the team’s defense. “That’s who we are. … My stomach was hurting. My stomach’s still kind of hurting.”

Virginia entered the game allowing 49.2 points per game, the fewest in the country, and holding opponents to 34.1 percent shooting — the second-best mark in the nation. Duke, however, throttled the Cavaliers with its transition play, scoring 14 fast-break points, and despite the deficit, never appeared completely out of it.

Though the Cavaliers embarked upon a 14-4 run out of halftime, when they trailed, 26-25, Duke responded with a 13-4 run of its own midway through the second half, shutting down Virginia with the 2-3 zone defense it has adopted this season.

Four of those points came from talented freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who was held to 10 points despite entering Saturday leading the ACC with 18.7 points per game and a 66.2 shooting percentage.

Virginia tried to remove Okafor from the game with persistent double-teams, but the two buckets — a dunk off an inbounds play, followed by a tip-in of a miss by Tyus Jones — trimmed the deficit. Okafor, who finished with nine rebounds, also had the assist on Cook’s 3-pointer when he kicked the ball out from the low post.

“We knew the double[-team] was going to come,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought that in the first half, he was just playing for the double instead of posting hard. … In the second he posted lower and responded really well.”

By shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, Virginia had its streak of holding 43 consecutive opponents under 50 percent snapped. Even worse, a defense that had been so stingy allowed 43 points in the second half — near unfathomable numbers for the Cavaliers.

“I thought there was enough offense to win that game,” Bennett said. “What you have to do is come up with some tough stops — whether it was a loose rebound and it looked like we should have just snatched it up. I think those errors, or those breakdowns, probably cost us, because I really believe — obviously, we had the lead — that there was enough scoring for us to try to get that [win].”

Duke has now won 42 of 64 games when both teams are in ranked in the top 10 of The Associated Press poll, while Krzyzewski improved to 26-13 all-time against teams ranked in the top five.

Virginia will need that kind of success to keep its season on track. The Cavaliers have a short turnaround, playing at No. 13 North Carolina on Monday, and then host No. 10 Louisville on Saturday.

“We’ve really got to tighten the screws tomorrow — but at the same time, rest our bodies and come prepared on Monday,” Brogdon said.

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