Gene Banks made a layup with 35 seconds to play to put Duke into the lead for the first time since the opening basket and gave the Blue Devils a 64-63 victory over Virginia tonight.
Third-ranked Duke trailed by 11 points at the half due to its icy 31.3 percent shooting and the hot hand of Virginia's Jeff Lamp. The Atlantic Coast Conference's scoring leader (23.9 points per game) hit six of nine field goals and five from the free-throw line for 17 points in the first half. Duke's season scoring leader Mike Gminski (20.4) managed only two points before intermission and nine for the game while Lamp garnered only four second-half points.
Kenny Dennard's dunk off a Jim Spanarkel alley-oop pass with 2:05 to play tied the game, 62-62, for the first time since the teams traded opening-minute baskets.
Then it came down to Virginia's inability to hit free throws in the last two minutes. Lee Raker, back after a four-game absence because of a stomach injury, missed two foul shots with 1:51 to play and Steve Castellan converted only one of two 45 seconds later to put Virginia on top, 63-62, with 57 seconds to play.
Following a Duke time out, Banks took a pass inside and scored over Castellan to put Duke on top, 64-63.
Virginia called timeout with 10 seconds to play. Mike Owens took the in-bounds pass and missed a contested jump shot from just outside the foul line with only three seconds left.
Duke Coach Bill Foster praised sophomore forward Banks for his aggressiveness at the end. "That Banks drive at the end -- wow!" he exclaimed. "In a situation like that you can't wait for the standing jumper; you have to drive straight into the basket.
"Give a lot of credit to that Virginia defense. Castellan played a super game tonight (21 points, 10 rebounds), probably the best I've seen him play for them."
Virginia Coach Terry Holland said Duke's aggressive man-to-man defense gave the Cavaliers some trouble. "Defensively, we tried to pack the zone back in and make them operate from the perimeter. We felt we had some good matchups in the zone. I think there are a lot of people here tonight who aren't sure who is the best team. I think we will be a very good team by tournament time."
Duke is 17-3 overall and 7-1 in the conference; Virginia 14-7 and 5-4.