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UVA-Duke: Make-or-miss game comes down to late Virginia misses

jay huff uva duke
Jay Huff had 20 points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort for #7 UVA. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

The 66-65 final score didn’t scream NBA, but the shot-making you saw from #7 Virginia and Duke Saturday night in prime time on ESPN sure did.

Duke was 9-of-23 from three – most of that from Matthew Hurt, who was sublime, 5-of-8 from three, 8-of-13 overall, 22 points.

The Blue Devils also hit 10 of their 18 two-point jumpers – this from a team that was 39.8 percent on two-point jumpers coming in.

Virginia, the ACC’s best from three coming in, at 39.8 percent, were 5-of-11 – 45.5 percent – from behind the arc.

The only issue being the lack of volume – the ‘Hoos had been averaging 22.5 threes coming in.

The way basketball is played today, you’re supposed to shoot either a three or get to the rim.

UVA only had 11 threes and 12 shots at the rim among its 52 shots.

That’s supposed to be bad.

But when you make 14 of your 29 two-point jumpers, that’s not bad.

It’s 48.3 percent. Virginia is actually a fairly good two-point jump-shooting team, shooting 44.5 percent on their twos coming in.

Thing is, UVA had averaged 13 two-point jumpers hoisted coming in.

More than doubled that one.

Duke had averaged 14.5 two-point jumpers coming in.

They were right where they’d expect to be.

Made more of theirs.

Until neither could make anything late.

Duke took the lead with 1:59 to go on a driving layup by Jaemyn Brakefield.

After that, two teams that were making shots all night couldn’t make anything.

This was also where it felt like an NBA game.

Or maybe a YMCA game.

It was close late, both teams wanted to win, so they clamped down on D.

Duke got the last stop, with Hurt blocking a Kihei Clark three inside of two seconds left.

Clark had three misses in the final 1:59 – a layup blocked at the rim, a late-shot-clock three, the one at the buzzer.

Sam Hauser, who had 19, on 7-of-11 shooting, also missed a contested three with 37 seconds to go.

Hey, they were doing what they were supposed to be doing – attacking the rim, shooting threes.

The key miss was probably the missed Casey Morsell two-point jumper at the 1:36 mark.

Still 10 seconds on the shot clock when he forced that one.

Morsell had hit three jumpers, so he was in rhythm.

They say the NBA is a make-or-miss league.

Saturday night was a make-or-miss game.

It ended with Virginia misses.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press