Virginia upsets Duke
By Hank Kurz Jr.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Sean Singletary had already tied the game with 24 seconds left in regulation, his first basket in almost 16.
Hitting the game-winner late in overtime almost seemed routine — even if the shot was anything but ordinary.
Singletary hit a falling, one-handed floater with a second left in overtime Thursday night, lifting comeback-crazy Virginia past No. 8 Duke 68-66.
“I got bumped and to catch my balance, I had to get off my feet,” Singletary said of the shot over 6-foot-10 Josh McRoberts from the right side of the basket.
The Cavaliers (14-6, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed 59-51 with 3:42 left in regulation, pulled off their second highly improbable comeback in five days.
On Saturday at Clemson, they erased a 16-point deficit in the last nine minutes, winning on a tip-in by Jason Cain with 15.5 seconds left. And this time, J.R. Reynolds scored the first eight points in a 10-2 run to end regulation, and Singletary tied it.
The overtime ending left even Duke’s players shaking their heads. The Blue Devils (18-4, 5-3) had won nine in a row against Virginia and led almost the entire night.
“It was a crazy, tough shot,” DeMarcus Nelson said of the game-winner, which ended with Singletary on the floor. “We couldn’t have made him make a tougher shot. He threw up a shot out of desperation over two defenders and it went in.”
Having the junior guard to call on, as well as senior Reynolds, who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, makes coach Dave Leitao’s job easier, he said.
“We were going to win or lose with one of those two,” he said.
In regulation, McRoberts missed a driving attempt in the final seconds to bring about the overtime, and this one wasn’t done until Greg Paulus’ 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced hard off the rim, bringing hundreds of students rushing onto the court.
“We had some shots, including the one at the end of regulation, that were great shots. We just didn’t knock them down,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
It was Virginia’s fifth victory in a row, and broke their tie with the Blue Devils for fourth place in the ACC at the midpoint of the conference schedule.
The Blue Devils had their five-game conference winning streak snapped.
Singletary scored 17 despite making only 6 of 16 shots, and Mamadi Diane had 14.
McRoberts led Duke with 19 points, Nelson had 12 and Paulus 10.
In the overtime, Duke called a timeout with the score tied at 66, 8 seconds left on the shot clock and 30.2 seconds left in the game. On the inbound, they got the ball to Jon Scheyer, who got stuck in the corner with Solomon Tat defending and forced a shot that hit off the side of the backboard. Virginia rebounded with 17 seconds left.
Singletary did the rest, driving at the basket from the right side, pulling up and flicking the ball up over the defense and in.
The Cardiac Cavaliers had struck again.
Virginia trailed 59-51 with 3:42 to play, but Reynolds scored its next eight points — six on as many free throw attempts — and Singletary tied it with a 15-footer.
The Blue Devils didn’t call time, and when McRoberts tried to take Cain off the dribble in the final seconds, his shot rolled off the rim and time ran out.
Cain had six points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in overtime.
The Cavaliers trailed almost all game, but drew even at 49 on three free throws by Reynolds with 7:14 to play. But the Blue Devils immediately went on a 10-2 spurt.
McRoberts started it with a basket inside and Scheyer hit a 3-pointer.
After Reynolds made a floater for Virginia, he lay on the court with an apparent cramp, but play continued, and Nelson made a 3-pointer from the left corner. Another basket by McRoberts inside made it 59-51 with 3:42 to play, but Virginia wasn’t done.