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This block by Zion Williamson was off the charts

11 February, 2019, 01:51 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Barrett 3s lead No. 2 Duke past No. 3 Virginia 81-71

But as had been the case in the first half, just when Virginia had been gaining steam, the Blue Devils answered with a timely three-pointer, this time from staring point guard Tre Jones from the left corner. That's how sound they are otherwise.

Virginia discovered as much Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in an 81-71 loss to No. 2 Duke.

The rematch between teams with national championship aspirations came three weeks after the Blue Devils held off Virginia at Cameron Indoor Stadium for a 72-70 win, the most points the Cavaliers had allowed this season until Saturday.

But Duke, ranked 306th in 3-point shooting at 30.8 percent entering Saturday, made its first five from beyond the arc and seven of its first eight in racing to a 14-point first-half lead.

But to start the second half, Duke's barrage from downtown continued, this time mostly at the hands of freshman Cam Reddish.

When Duke beat Virginia 72-70 back on January 19 in Durham, the Blue Devils hit only 2 of 14 3-pointers.

Here's why the shots were open: Since the Blue Devils (21-2, 9-1) scored 46 points in the paint and penetrated at will against them last month, the Cavaliers were obsessed with clogging the paint Saturday.

"I thought we were a little slow to our closeouts", said Virginia Coach Tony Bennett, who has a winning record against every ACC opponent except Duke. "They're outstanding, and we're really good, too".

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LeBron James sat under the basket at the Duke end of the floor and didn't get up to leave until about 1:15 was left on the game clock. "We tried to keep them out of the lane and jam the lane, and we probably overcorrected in terms of that".

James is also a well-known friend of Duke Mike Krzyzewski as Coach K coached LeBron for USA Basketball.

"I don't think it's anything I did", he said, "but my players felt it". Now, they're playing in Virginia's home gym, and the strategy could be different. But Reddish made three 3-pointers in the next two-plus minutes to put Duke back in command.

Adding solid 3-point shooting to a team that is already one of the nation's top offensive teams, plus a team that has proven adept defensively, only adds to Duke's wow factor.

Zion Williamson isn't known for blocking shots, but honestly, he should be.

It seemed as if Williamson was simply trying to avoid producing any headlines that would center on him. He is second in the ACC in scoring at 22.0. He also had seven rebounds and three assists. Here's a look at a few of the best reactions that poured in after Williamson's block during the Duke win.

According to oddsmakers at BetNow.eu, Virginia is the slight favorite at home, as the Cavaliers are getting odds of -1.5 points against Duke.

Virginia: The Cavaliers appeared shocked by the first 12 minutes, during which the Blue Devils were 7 of 8 on 3-pointers and 10 of 14 overall in taking a 29-15 lead. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome scored 16 points apiece for Virginia, who couldn't avenge their 72-70 loss to the Blue Devils on January 19.

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