Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cavs Crushed 82-63

Virginia needed its best effort to beat the second-best team in America.

They didn't. Even worse, Duke played excellent. The result was an ugly loss. The momentum of three straight ACC wins was not enough to stop J.J. Redick. The senior SG could not miss, even when covered well, but especially on some of the open jumpers his speed gave him. That paired with a strong shooting night by C Shelden Williams and Virginia simply did not have enough bodies to take down the talented Blue Devils.

The game started terribly for the Cavaliers offensively, UVA was down 20-2 and played scare. They were turning the ball over, 12 in the first half alone and 19 for the game. Every player was rushing their shot when they had an open shot. The frustration was evident but the game was not over yet. A strong finish to end the half cut the deficit at one point to 9. Shelden Williams made at a jumper at the end for Duke to take a 35-24 lead at the break. Williams would end the game with 17 points, 10 rebound and 8 "blocks".

The next half, the bottom fell out. Redick shot incredibly well and Virginia went through another cold spell. Before long the lead was nearing 30 early in the second half. The Roanoke product scored 40 against the Cavaliers, his third 40-point game this year, continuing his campaign for the Naismith Award. However Virginia continued to fight. Better Virginia teams had folded in the past but Coach Leitao and crew held on to keep the game from being a complete embarrassment. Obviously Virginia was not happy with a 19-point loss but it could have been far worse. This resiliency will be necessary as the year goes on. If Virginia can shake this game off as one of those days and truly refocus on rebounding and ball control, they can continue to be a force in this depleted ACC.

The officiating in Duke was suspect at points. Virginia got some questionable calls, but even Dockery was hosed on an obvious offensive foul by Singletary. Nevertheless, the calls didn't cost the Cavaliers this game, sloppy execution did. This game serves as a reality check. Virginia has played well, they've exceeded expectations but this is Duke, not Miami. Virginia still has glaring problems and they can affect them in any game. Virginia was balanced out by a good game from J.R. Reynolds. Reynolds, who left his last game with a concussion scored 19 points on 6-12 shooting, an amazing 3-3 from behind the arc. His three-pointer near the end of the first half was one of the few bright spots for the Cavaliers. Singletary chipped in 13 points and 6 assists, but had an uncharacteristic 6 turnovers. Jason Cain was the only other Cavalier to reach double-digits with 10 points and 7 rebounds, but 6 of those points came from the line.

Next up for the Cavaliers will be the Wolfpack of N.C. State. The Pack are coming off an embarrassing home loss to Seton Hall by 20. The last thing Virginia needs is a frustrated and talented ball club, but that's the situation. Last year, Virginia's only road win was against the Wolfpack 61-59. Singletary's late lay-up was a huge victory on a highly disappointing season. Virginia will be looking for a similar theme but this time the Wolfpack are paying attention. Ilian Evtimov and sophomore Cedric Simmons have emerged as leaders for the 14th ranked team in the nation. Virginia is obviously disappointed with their effort against the Blue Devils, but they should be proud of the season they have had so far. Duke is an amazing team, and from now on the Cavaliers may have a tough schedule but it is manageable. At 10-7, the Cavaliers still have the potential for a few more upsets. They will need to play solid, smart basketball and if the Cavaliers can learn and not wallow from this game, they can do just that.


At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm The White Rabbit


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