7 Duke sneaks past Virginia 65-61, Cavaliers fall to 17-11 on the season (2-23-22) 

By: Darrell Owens

Headline Photo Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network

The Virginia Cavaliers (17-10) hosted the #7 team in the country the Duke Blue Devils (23-4) on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers were looking to sweep the Blue Devils in a 2-game regular-season series for the first time since 1994-95. Virginia defeated Duke 69-68 in the first meeting earlier this month in Durham with a Reece Beekman 3-pointer at the buzzer. Now the biggest storyline coming into this game, Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski will coach his last game in Charlottesville vs.Virginia. Coach K is coaching his final season for the Blue Devils and he will retire at season’s end. Could Virginia pull off the upset for a second time? The Blue Devils would have something to say about that.

In an extremely tight contest, Duke would defeat Virginia 65-61. The Cavaliers got off to a great start with a 22-17 lead with 4:32 seconds left in the 1st half, but the Blue Devils would close out the 1st half on a 13-3 run to head into halftime with a 30-25 lead. Despite Virginia’s Kihei Clark having a flawless first half scoring 18 points all off of three-pointers (6-for-9). In the second half, the Blue Devils were able to hold on to a small lead throughout and claim victory. Jeremy Roach (15 points), AJ Griffin (13 points) & Trevor Keels (13 points) would lead Duke to the win.

Virginia was led by Kihei Clark and his career-high 25 points and 7 assists. Jayden Gardner (16 points) & Reece Beekman (11 points) chipped in for the Cavaliers. Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett had to say this after the game about his team:

“I said, there’s zero room for arrogance or pride in this game. I said there’s a bunch of room for humility and tough passion and what were problems involved, but the last thing I said was don’t make too big a deal of this. This is an important game, go play, and then we’ll have two more important games and go from there. I just think Duke was tough. He’s [Kihei Clark] probably the one who’s maybe been in that setting, but I’m not sure, they just defended us well and took us a while to figure it out and have a little patience. I think some guys are a little anxious with some of the shots and go through guards like that, and play like that and in scores, you see their talent and their ability to be a special team.”

Virginia will take on Florida State on Saturday at 4 pm for the final game at John Paul Jones for the 2021-22 season. The ACC tournament starts on March 8 in Brooklyn, New York.