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Blue Devils trump cold-shooting Cavs

NO. 12 DUKE 65, NO. 14 VIRGINIA 55

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — In the days leading up to his team’s game against Duke, Virginia Coach Tony Bennett spoke of how close losses — like those the Cavaliers had suffered at Villanova, Syracuse and Virginia Tech by a combined eight points — can chip away at a team’s confidence.

Blue Devils Trump Cold-shooting Cavs

Blue Devils Trump Cold-shooting Cavs Maryland center Damonte Dodd (right) shoots over Northwestern center Dererk Pardon during Wednesday night s game at Evanston, Ill.

“You just keep battling,” Bennett said. “Confidence is something, I guess, you have to earn.”

Playing in front of its loudest home crowd all season, the Cavaliers battled again but still were not able to earn a victory. Virginia kept Duke’s Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen mostly quiet, but didn’t have an answer for Jayson Tatum in a 65-55 loss, the Cavaliers’ fourth in their past six games. Tatum, one of Duke’s much-heralded McDonald’s all-Americans, finally cracked open a tight game with two consecutive three-pointers in less than a minute to put the Blue Devils up 54-44 with less than two minutes remaining. Tatum had a game-high 28 points, connecting on six of seven attempts from the three-point line, and Kennard had 16. Allen, booed every time he had the ball, even in warmups, had five points on 2-of-10 shooting for No. 12 Duke (21-5, 9-4 ACC).

Senior London Perrantes had 14 points and freshman point guard Ty Jerome had 13 for No. 14 Virginia (18-7, 8-5), which shot 36.8 percent from the floor and had myriad missed opportunities. The Cavaliers ended with 12 offensive rebounds but just four second-chance points. Before Tatum’s three-pointers, John Paul Jones Arena had buzzed with energy. Security guards practiced forming a restraining wall on the floor just in case students rushed the court, and the arena’s namesake, John Paul Jones, sat courtside in front of a rowdy, packed crowd. The security precautions proved unnecessary, however, as the Cavaliers suffered their first double-digit loss at home since 2013.

For everything but the atmosphere, much of the game felt more like a chess match between Bennett and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski — even by Virginia’s sometimes-plodding standards.

In other games involving Top 25/SEC men’s teams Wednesday, Joel Berry II scored 18 points to help No. 10 North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 97-73 to stay alone in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Luke Maye added a career-high 13 points for the Tar Heels (22-5, 10-3). Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. scored 27 points but little else went right for the Wolfpack (14-13, 3-11). … Kevin Johnson scored 14 points and Gary Clark had 13 points and 14 rebounds as No. 18 Cincinnati bounced back from its first loss in two months with a 68-54 victory over South Florida. Kyle Washington had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats (23-2, 12-1 American). Geno Thorpe led the Bulls (7-18, 1-13) with 19 points. … Semi Ojeleye scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, including consecutive three-pointers in the SMU run that finally put the 19th-ranked Mustangs ahead in an 80-75 victory over Tulane. Jarrey Foster had 19 points, including three consecutive dunks in one stretch, for SMU (23-4, 13-1 American). Cameron Reynolds had 23 points for Tulane (4-21, 1-12). … Khadeen Carrington tallied the final 10 points of his career-high 41 in the closing minute and Seton Hall made a big stride toward the NCAA Tournament with an 87-81 victory over No. 20 Creighton. Desi Rodriguez had 18 points and big man Angel Delgado added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Pirates (16-9, 6-7 Big East). Marcus Foster had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for Creighton (21-5, 8-5). … Melo Trimble scored a career-high 32 points on 12-for-17 shooting, and No. 23 Maryland strengthened its position in the Big Ten with a 74-64 victory over Northwestern. Anthony Cowan added 13 points for Maryland (22-4, 10-3). Freshman Isiah Brown led Northwestern (19-7, 8-5) with a career-high 19 points. … Avery Woodson scored a season-high 20 points and Andrew Chrabascz also had 20 as No. 24 Butler blew out St. John’s 110-86. The Bulldogs (20-6, 9-5 Big East) ended a two-game home losing streak. Federico Mussini had 20 points to lead the Red Storm (12-15, 6-8). … Dazon Ingram scored 18 points — including 15 in the second half — and grabbed nine rebounds to help Alabama overcome dismal first-half shooting and defeat Missouri 57-54. Riley Norris, Braxton Key and Jimmie Taylor each added nine points, and the trio combined for 19 second-half points for Alabama (15-10, 8-5 SEC). K.J. Walton had nine of his 12 points in the first half and Kevin Puryear finished with 11 for Missouri (7-18, 2-11).

Sports on 02/16/2017

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