ACC Basketball: Duke 79, Virginia 54:Duke takes aggressive approach in win
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó The “Gerald’s winning” chant started just as Gerald Henderson stepped into the passing lane and made a steal near midcourt.
He raced ahead for a two-handed dunk, and top-ranked Duke rolled to a 79-54 victory against Virginia on Sunday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Henderson posted 16 of his team-high 18 points in the opening 11 minutes, and the Cavaliers committed 17 of their 23 turnovers in the first half. The Blue Devils (19-2, 6-1 ACC) scored 29 points off turnovers and allowed only two.
“We felt it was a dangerous game for us if we don’t attack defensively and stay in passing lanes,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We did that and got some buckets off our defense.”
Duke gave up more than three unanswered points just once, and that short run occurred when freshman guard Sylven Landesberg had back-to-back three-point plays six minutes into the second half.
Landesberg led the Cavaliers (7-10, 1-5) with 20 points, but he committed two charges in the first 31/2 minutes and finished with five turnovers.
Landesberg charged into Kyle Singler on Virginia’s first possession and penetrated for a layup on the Cavs’ next one. Jon Scheyer tried to take a charge but was called for a blocking foul.
“They dare you to put the ball on the floor and go at a high rate of speed so you can run into people,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao said.
Henderson, who has at least shared the team lead in scoring six times in the last seven games, helped Duke jump out to a 34-12 lead.
Point guard Nolan Smith had averaged 7.7 points in the Blue Devils’ last 10 outings, and he scored 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting.
“I kind of fell into trying to be the set-it-up point guard and just play off Kyle, Jon and G,” Smith said. “I’m still going to do that but at the same time look to be aggressive to make the other team’s point guard actually have to guard me.”
A last-second layup by Wake Forest’s James Johnson beat the Blue Devils two days after they moved to No. 1 in the national polls, and Duke’s focus in the following days centered on taking an aggressive approach at both ends.
Krzyzewski liked the toughness his team displayed in the final 10 minutes of the loss to Wake, and the result produced a fictional perk.
“A positive, you want to stay home a little bit more, and I had two coaching clinics canceled after that game,” Krzyzewski joked. “I was going to speak on out-of-bounds, under defense.
“I look at my phone, and there’s two texts. ‘Sorry coach. Maybe after you win another national championship. We didn’t like your strategy.’ “