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No. 7 Virginia crumbles over final three minutes in 66-65 loss at Duke

Heartbreaker in Cameron as Huff scores 20.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Virginia at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the first time all season, the Virginia Cavaliers lost back-to-back games. The No. 7 Hoos faced a resurgent and hot-shooting Duke team and fell just short down the stretch for a 66-65 loss. Down one with 10 seconds left, Virginia had a chance to win on the road, but Kihei Clark mishandled the ball and got it to Jay Huff a fraction of a second too late for a game winning dunk.

The Hoos fall to 15-5 on the season and slip to 11-3 in ACC play. Virginia played well throughout the game, but failed to get anything going in their last three possessions as Duke took the lead for good. Neither team led by more than six points in what was an exciting game until the final three minutes.

Both teams shot well as Virginia went 50% from the field and 46% from three and Duke connected on 51% and 39%, respectively. Matthew Hurt went off for the Blue Devils, making 5-for-8 from three and scoring 22 points.

Huff finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Sam Hauser added 19 points and eight rebounds. Clark had 15 points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists, but turned it over three times. Trey Murphy took just two shots — making both — but was active defensively and the only player that saw significant minutes that didn’t record a turnover.

Virginia finished with 13 turnovers that led to 15 points for the Blue Devils.

Duke made its first two shots — both threes — to jump out to a 6-0 lead before Virginia responded with nine straight. A three from Hauser and dunk from Murphy gave the Hoos an 11-8 lead, but Hurt’s second three of the game tied things up. Back-to-back buckets from Virginia were answered yet again by a Hurt three, to cut the lead back to one.

Goldwire gave the Blue Devils the lead back on a defensive breakdown that led to an easy layup. Huff connected in the paint twice, but a steal and layup once again made it a one-point game at 19-18. Casey Morsell converted a three-point play at the free throw line, and Wendell Moore answered on the other end as both teams continued the hot shooting to start the game.

Outstanding ball movement found Clark late in the shot clock, and the third year point guard canned it to put Virginia up 25-20. Duke would score the next nine points before Huff ended the scoring run with a two. Roach connected with Duke’s sixth three of the half, but Clark scored four straight to cut the deficit to 32-31 with three minutes left to play.

Hurt hit his fourth three of the half, but Hauser responded with an explosive dunk. Two made three throws from Duke pushed the home team’s lead to four. Hauser got open for a three to cut the deficit back to one with just under 40 seconds to play in the first half.

Duke would add two more at the free throw line to take a 39-36 lead into the break. Both teams shot lights out as the Blue Devils made 7-of-12 (58%) from deep and 56% from the field. Virginia was also cruising offensively as they shot 60% from the field and 60% from three. The difference in the first half came off of turnovers as the Blue Devils turned seven UVA turnovers into 12 points.

Hauser went a perfect 5-for-5 in the first half, scoring a team-high 12 points and hitting both of the threes he attempted. Clark added nine points, and Huff had eight points and five rebounds.

Hurt led Duke with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting from three.

Huff rebounded his own miss for a dunk to open the second half, cutting into Duke’s lead immediately. The Hoos took the lead on the next possession after Hauser came up with a steal, got his own rebound, and found a wide open Huff for an easy dunk. Another dunk for Huff pushed the lead to three, but Hurt covered the deficit with a turnaround jumper and made free throw.

A good defensive stand by the Hoos gave Virginia a chance at retaking the lead, and Hauser pulled up from downtown Durham to give Virginia a three point lead. Once again, the lead was short-lived as Hurt hit his fifth three of the game to tie things at 45-45.

After a chaotic stretch where both teams missed shots, Morsell put Virginia back on top by four with two straight jumpers. Henry Coleman got an offensive foul and put-back to make it 49-47, and Roach tied the game with 12:03 to play.

There was a short delay as Morsell had to come out of the game with a cut on his cheek from an inadvertent elbow, and Huff gave the Hoos the lead once more with another dunk from a no-look pass from Hauser.

Huff got a piece of a three on the other end, deflecting it just enough that it fell to a wide open Coleman for an easy lay-in. Clark’s third steal of the day gave Virginia a chance to jump back in front, and Hauser delivered yet again.

Virginia took a 56-51 lead with 6:51 to play after Clark converted an old-fashioned three-point play. The Blue Devils cut it back to three with a layup from Moore, then tied it up after a Hauser turnover led to a transition three from Steward. Huff and Hurt traded twos to keep it tied, and Hauser gave the Hoos a slight two-point advantage at the free throw line.

Clark responded to a Roach jumper with a corner three, giving Virginia a 63-60 advantage with 3:48 remaining. A deep, deep two from Hurt trimmed the lead back to one as the two squads continued to land body blows. Huff hit two free throws to make it a three-point game, but Duke scored four straight to take a one-point lead with 1:59 left.

Virginia had a couple looks at it, but couldn’t convert.

Next up, Virginia hosts NC State on Wednesday night at 9pm. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.