Seth Curry scored 23 second-half points, but Joe Harris (12) was unstoppable. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—All season, with or without Ryan Kelly, Duke has remained composed and steadily worked toward a strong regular season finish.
Suddenly, after a 73-68 loss at Virginia during which Duke was out-worked and left flustered, all of that is in doubt.
With the loss, No. 3 Duke (24-4, 11-4 in the ACC) has a one-game lead on UNC and the Cavaliers for second place. And the Blue Devils still have to host first-place Miami—who has clinched a share of the regular-season title—and pay the Tar Heels a visit.
Duke was consistently outworked and outhustled, and that was most evident in Virginia’s edge on the boards. Duke finished with just three offensive rebounds. The Cavaliers (20-8, 10-5) pulled down 27 defensive rebounds.
Joe Harris in particular took advantage of Duke’s lack of defensive energy. The junior finished with a career-high 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the floor. That was also the most points scored by an ACC player in a conference game this year.
“He got a lot of tough plays,” Seth Curry said. “Loose balls, offensive rebounds, and then just strong cuts and drives. He was the most physical person out there.”