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Virginia men's basketball team falls short at Duke

Virginia men's basketball team falls short at Duke

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Jay Huff hung from the rim in his hometown arena as the final buzzer sounded and Duke’s players celebrated.

The Virginia senior's put-back, two-handed dunk off a Kihei Clark miss didn’t count, coming after the clock expired, allowing the Blue Devils to hold off No. 7 UVa for a 66-65 win Saturday night.

"As soon as I caught it I had already seen the buzzer go off," said Huff. "But I figured if I was up there, I might as well.”

Trailing by a point, Huff rebounded a missed free throw by Duke’s D.J. Steward and got the ball to Clark, the team’s junior point guard. Clark mishandled his dribbled at the top of the arc, recovered and hoisted a 3 that came up short of the rim.

Huff, a Durham native who grew up attending Duke games, caught the ball in the air and slammed it through, but after the horn had gone off.

“We knew it was late,” said UVa senior forward Sam Hauser. “You could see the buzzer go off.”

Empty stands at Cameron Indoor Stadium only robbed Saturday night’s Virginia-Duke game of atmosphere, not intensity.

Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt scored 22 points and freshman forward Jaemyn Brakefield’s layup with 1:59 to play lifted the Blue Devils to their third straight win, dropping the Cavaliers to second place in the ACC, behind Florida State.

Brakefield finished with 11 points and freshman guard Jeremy Roach added 12.

Earlier this week, Duke star freshman Jalen Johnson announced he was opting out of the rest of the season to focus on his NBA future.

Virginia (15-5, 11-3 ACC) hadn’t played since getting drilled 81-60 by the Seminoles on Monday night, a game coach Tony Bennett descried as a serving of humble pie. Saturday’s contest had its own bitter tasted as UVa led five points with 6:33 to play, but couldn’t finish the job.

“They made timely plays and winning plays,” said Hauser after his team dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.

Huff finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds in his final homecoming game, and Hauser, playing at venerable Cameron for the first time, added 19 and 8, in one of the more physical showdowns between the two ACC powers.

The Cavaliers lost despite shooting 50% for the game. They didn’t score in the final 3:08 of the game, a contest Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski described as “epic.”

Duke (10-8, 8-6) entered Saturday night seven spots and four games back of Virginia in the ACC basketball standings, but neither team ever had more than two shots worth of separation in this one.

Five of the last seven meetings between the two teams have now been decided by two points or fewer.

Virginia committed seven first-half turnovers, leading to 12 points for Duke, which was coming off back-to-back road wins at North Carolina State and Wake Forest.

The Blue Devils led 39-36 at the half, and things remained tight after the break, down to the final possession.

On that play, Bennett had hoped his team would be able to drive to the basket to score or draw a foul after the Steward free throw miss. Instead, the broken play ended with the Clark long jumper and Huff's seconds-too-late slam.

“We’re like, 'If they miss it, attack. Get to the rim, we’re in the bonus,'" said Bennett. "I was hoping we could get into the lane and get one up.”

Virginia, which played Saturday night’s game without senior guard Tomas Woldetensae, who was unavailable due to contact tracing, hosts North Carolina State on Wednesday at John Paul Jones Arena, where the Cavaliers are 9-0 this season.

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