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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 01/13/2012

Duke holds off Virginia in battle of two of ACC’s elite teams


A Duke Blue Devils fan taunts the Virginia Cavaliers during warmups at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Grant Halverson - Getty Images)
The most important thing to take away from Duke’s 61-58 victory over Virginia on Thursday night is that the Cavaliers showed that they belong among the ACC’s elite. After entering the ACC showdown with a gaudy 14-1 record — which included one quality victory against Michigan — Tony Bennett’s team came within one three-point shot of sending the game into overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Mike Scott dumped in 23 points and had an all-around terrific game for the Cavaliers. But outside shooting threat Sammy Zeglinski missed all eight of his field goal attempts. Virginia was just 3 of 16 from three-point range, including 0 for 11 in the second half. Duke shot an impressive 52 percent against one of the ACC’s best defenses.

“That first 10 minutes of the second half wasn’t really our defense,” Scott said. “They got into the paint, scored at will. It took everything for us to come back, and it should not be like that.”

Despite the failed comeback attempt, it is clear Virginia belongs in the upper echelon of the ACC standings with Duke and North Carolina. The ACC is down this year. The league may not earn more than four NCAA tournament bids, but Virginia certainly appears worthy of one so far this season.

What else mattered Thursday night:

Minnesota 77, Indiana 74: With victories over Kentucky and Ohio State under their belt, the Hoosiers may be every bit as good as their record indicates. Their revival this season is one of the nation’s best stories. But Tubby Smith’s team caught them Thursday night and earned an important NCAA tournament resume-boosting victory in the process.

Wisconsin 67, Purdue 62: The Badgers, who had been sliding of late, were torrid from beyond the three-point arc early in the game, building a 22-4 lead. They held on to snap Purdue’s 26-game home winning streak.

Stanford 68, Utah 65: The Pac-12 is no better than the nation’s ninth-best conference, and Utah looks like the worst team in the league. Fortunately for Stanford, it avoided what would have been a damaging loss against a Utah team that ranked 268th in the Ratings Percentage Index.

St. Mary’s 83, Gonzaga 62: In a matchup of two of the best teams on the West Coast, St. Mary’s dominated its West Coast Conference rival. Matthew Dellavedova made five three-pointers and scored 26 points. Students stormed the court in Moraga, Calif., after the victory.

Arizona 81, Oregon State 73 (OT) : Arizona Coach Sean Miller called this performance his team’s best of the season so far. The Wildcats overcame early-game adversity to dominate Oregon State in overtime. Unfortunately, the game may be remembered for the brawl that nearly ensued.

More college hoops from Washington Post Sports:

Cavaliers fall just short in 15th consecutive loss at Duke

NCAA tournament: Prisbell’s latest field of 68

Feinstein: ACC is now merely another common conference

By  |  12:03 PM ET, 01/13/2012

 
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