augusta free press news

Inside the Numbers: UVA can’t dig out of early hole

UVA basketballDuke made 10 of its first 14 from the floor, seven of its first eight from three, and led UVA 29-15 12 minutes in.

The ‘Hoos, for their part, sluggish: 7-of-18 from the floor in that stretch, 1-of-4 from three.

Wonder how much that has to do with being off a week, and having Ty Jerome missing the Miami game last week, and being limited in practice?

Ah, whatever.

Water under the bridge.

Duke won, is all that matters.

It means nothing that Virginia outscored Duke the rest of the way, that the Cavaliers shot 21-of-32 in the final 28 minutes, as Duke was going 16-of-31 the rest of the way.

The slow start did Virginia in as much as anything, is what I’m getting at here.

“We’ve made crazy comebacks before, and we just kept saying that we aren’t done. It just didn’t happen tonight, but we kept fighting,” sophomore forward Jay Huff said.

And, yes, credit to the ‘Hoos, for not giving in. Moral victories suck, because they still count as Ls, but Virginia hung in there about as well as a team could against a team shooting 13-of-21 from three and 57.8 percent from the floor overall.

Trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, UVA cut the deficit to four at the break, making six of its last seven shots in the final 5:10, four of the makes threes.

But after Duke opened the second half on a 12-6 run that pushed its lead back to double digits, Virginia would get no closer than five the rest of the way.

It just seemed like Duke would make a shot every time the Cavaliers would get close, which is the advantage you earn for yourself when you get out to a big early lead.

“Obviously, when they hit five in a row and seven out of eight, it is hard because it is an uphill battle all game,” junior guard Kyle Guy said.

Attacking more, but not rewarded

Duke just must not foul, which, we know that’s crap, but they sure weren’t called for many, despite the way the game was played.

Usually free-throw attempts are a function of how teams attack the paint.

So, UVA had 25 shots in the paint (shooting 14-of-25 on those shots).

Duke had 19 shots in the paint – shooting 12-of-19 in the paint.

Both teams blocked five shots, so, equal intensity in that respect.

Duke attempted 23 free throws. UVA attempted seven.

Factor out that seven of Duke’s attempts came in the final 59 seconds when Virginia started fouling to try to manage the endgame.

Even a 16-7 advantage for the team that had six less shot attempts in the paint is a bit of a disparity.

Fast-break points

This one shocked me, because I hadn’t noticed this watching.

Duke 17, UVA 0.


“We had a couple on turnovers and long rebounds, and that’s not what they do and they usually don’t give it up,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

“Look, it’s a lot better to get points against them when they’re not set up. That helped us tremendously.”

Duke had a 15-8 advantage in fast-break points in its win in Durham last month.

That’s a +24 for Duke in games that the Blue Devils won by a combined +12.

Against a team that doesn’t generally give up fast-break points, like, at all.

There’s what having the top three picks in the June NBA draft can do for you.

Points per possession

The high score came in a game played at Virginia tempo: 61 possessions for Duke, 63 for Virginia.

Duke averaged 1.328 points per possession against a Virginia team that had been allowing a nation’s best .844 points per possession coming in.

Virginia averaged 1.127 points per possession, a little off its 1.213 points per possession season output.


R.J. Barrett made his first five from three and finished 6-of-10 from three-point range on the night. He was a 31.4 percent three-point shooter on the season coming in.

His six makes were a season-high. His previous high had come in Duke’s 95-91 OT loss to Syracuse. He was 4-of-17 from three-point range in that game.

Cam Reddish was a 34.0 percent three-point shooter coming in. Reddish connected on 5-of-8 from three Saturday night, including a bank-is-open three during Duke’s early extended run.

The five makes were not a season-high for Reddish, who was 7-of-13 from three against Army way back in November.

He had one other five-make game in ACC play – going 5-of-8, including hitting the game-winner at the buzzer, in Duke’s 80-78 win at Florida State on Jan. 12.

Reddish had been shooting 31.9 percent from three in ACC play coming in.

What this says: God decided, ahead of time, that Duke was going to win, and this was how.

No other way to describe a team shooting 30.8 percent from three making 61.9 percent of its bombs against the best defensive team in the country.

It was God. Who is a Blue Devil.

Column by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press