Block party: Jay Huff snuffs 10 as ‘Hoos swat #7 Duke

uva basketball
Photo by Dan Grogan.

Jay Huff blocked 10 Duke shots, the 10th on a potential go-ahead shot by Vernon Carey with five seconds left, and Virginia outgritted #7 Duke, 52-50, on Saturday.

The win is the ninth in 10 games for UVA (21-7, 13-5 ACC), which now sits in third place in the conference standings with one week to go in the regular season.

Huff had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds, missing a triple-double by just the one rebound.

The big play, the ‘Hoos up one, 51-50, was the block on Carey, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Duke (23-6, 13-5 ACC), who had slipped open on a high screen and roll.

Tre Jones found Carey all alone under the basket, but he fumbled the pass slightly, allowing Mamadi Diakite, who had 14 points for Virginia, to recover enough to make Carey pump-fake.

The pump-fake gave Huff time to get back into the picture defensively, and the 7’1″ junior swatted away the short jumper, corralled the loose ball, and was fouled by Carey.

Huff made the second of the two-shot foul, giving Duke a chance to tie or win.

Jones, who finished with 17 points, actually got a decent look from about 25 feet at the buzzer, and the shot was on line, but hit the back iron and bounded off.

It was par for the course for UVA, which is now 7-1 this season in games decided by three points or less, with five of the tight wins coming in the stretch that has seen the Cavaliers improve from 4-4 in the ACC to now sit a game out of first place behind a trio of Top 10 teams.

Neither team led by more than seven, and that team was Duke, which opened the second half on a 10-3 run in the first 5:07 to go up 35-28 with 14:53 to go.

Virginia responded with an 11-4 run over the next 5:05 to tie the game at 39-39 on a driving layup by Braxton Key, who had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Jones hit a three with 2:50 to go to put Duke on top, 48-47, and after a Key dunk 19 seconds later gave Virginia a 49-48 edge, Jones scored on a runner that Diakite looked to have blocked, but was ruled a goaltend, with 1:01 to go.

On UVA’s next possession, Diakite got the ball in the lane, bumped into a Duke defender, then converted a short jumper with 37 seconds left that put the ‘Hoos back on top, 51-50.

Jones missed a contested jumper with 21 seconds left, and Key, sent to the line, missed the front end of a one-and-one, to keep the door open.

After a Duke timeout, Huff snuffed out Carey to set up the dramatic endgame.

Story by Chris Graham

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