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Virginia knocks off No. 7 Duke thanks to Huff’s huge day

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Huff scores 15 and swats 10 blocks.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia had a huge opportunity to bolster their resume with a game against No. 7 Duke, and the Cavaliers came through with the upset, 52-50. Jay Huff finished with a team-high 15 points, a handful of highlight reel dunks, and set a new career-high with 10 blocks. He was one rebound short of the triple-double.

Huff’s 10 blocks are the most by a Virginia player in ACC play in program history, and two shy of Ralph Sampson’s single-game record of 12.

Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite each finished with 14 points in the win. This was Virginia’s first win at JPJ over Duke since Joe Harris dropped 36 on the Blue Devils in 2013.

The Cavaliers improved to 21-7 and 13-5 in the ACC with the win and moved into third place in the conference standings.

Virginia shot 42% from the field and 30% from three for the game. The Hoos turned it over 15 times, but Duke got just three points from them. Defensively, Virginia held Duke to 31% shooting (24% from three). Vernon Carey and Tre Jones each scored 17 for Duke in the loss.

Virginia got off to a great start, taking an 11-6 lead thanks to four points from Huff and a big three from Diakite. Duke got back within two with an old-fashioned three-point play from Carey, and the talented first year tied things up at 11-11 with 12:28 to play. Diakite gave the Hoos the lead back with a silky jumper, but a three and pull up jumper from Jones put the Blue Devils ahead by three at 16-13.

Duke built its lead to five before Huff ended a 4+ minute scoring drought with another finish on an oop from Clark. A nifty spin move from Stattmann cut the deficit to one with just under seven minutes remaining in the half, but Woldetensae missed the front end of a one-and-one that would have tied the game. A dominating take from Huff gave Virginia a 19-18 lead and followed it up with a dunk worthy of the top play on Sports Center.

Virginia had a couple good looks that wouldn’t fall and a couple turnovers down the stretch kept the Hoos from building on their lead. Key finished two difficult layups to give the Cavaliers a 25-21 lead, but Duke scored the final four points of the half to send things into the break knotted at 25-25.

Huff led Virginia with 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting, and matched his career-high in blocks with six. Key added with points for the Hoos. As a team, Virginia shot 44% from the field and 33% from three. Despite turning the ball over seven times, Duke failed to capitalize with zero points off of turnovers.

Key got a great look from three that went halfway down and rimmed out, and DeLaurier gave Duke a lead with a jumper over Huff and Diakite. Clark couldn’t get a runner in transition to go, but Diakite kept the possession alive with a tap out that ended with a Clark three to give the Hoos the lead.

Back-to-back buckets from Duke put the Blue Devils up 31-28, the latter of which was a result of Duke having a 5-on-3 advantage after Diakite and Huff collided. Both players had to leave the game briefly, but Diakite came back in moments later.

Moore pushed Duke’s lead to five with a runner at the shot clock buzzer, and the Hoos found themselves in the middle of a 3:45 scoring drought on the other end. Virginia failed to box out Carey, leaving him open for a put-back slam on a miss from Jones to give Duke a 35-28 advantage.

A free throw from Carey answered a Key slam, and Clark cut the deficit to 36-32 with a jumper in the lane. Huff and Carey traded baskets before Diakite canned his second three of the game to make it a two-point game with just under 11 minutes to play. The Cavalier defense forced a shot clock violation on Duke’s next defensive possession, and Key knotted things up at 39-all with a difficult finish at the rim.

Jones put Duke back ahead with a three, and the Hoos turned the ball over twice in response. Huff broke up a play on the defensive end, then turned around for a jumper to cut the deficit to one with 7:05 left to play. Another shot clock violation for Duke gave the Hoos a chance to re-take the lead, and Diakite came through with a gorgeous floater in the lane after backing down Stanley to give Virginia a 43-42 advantage.

A terrible call sent Carey to the line, and the dynamic freshman gave Duke the lead back with 5:13 to play. Another free throw pushed Duke’s advantage to two, but Diakite hit two big free throws to tie things up at 45 with just under five minutes remaining.

Neither team could capitalize to take a lead until Clark connected on two free throws with 3:14 on the clock to put the Hoos back ahead. The lead was short lived after Jones hit another three — his third of the game in as many attempts — but good ball movement found Key for a dunk and the 49-48 advantage.

An unfortunate goal tending call against Diakite gave Duke the one-point lead back with 58.8 seconds left. The springy forward atoned for his mistake as he finished at the rim to put the Hoos back on top. Virginia regained possession with 15.8 seconds remaining thanks to a tie-up, and Key went to the line for a 1-and-1. He missed the first, but Huff came up with his tenth (!!) block of the game as he stuffed Carey in the paint.

Huff made just one of his two free throws, giving the Hoos a precarious two-point lead with 3.7 seconds remaining. Jones’s three went off the rim at the buzzer, and the upset was complete.

Next up, Virginia hits the road one final time in regular season ACC play as the Hoos head to Miami on Tuesday.