basketball-men-d1 flag

Daniel Wilco | | February 9, 2019

Duke beats Virginia 81-71 with lights-out shooting to complete season sweep of Cavaliers

Inside the Duke vs. Virginia duel for ACC supremacy

In 22 games, Virginia has lost just twice this season. Both came at the hands of Duke.

The Blue Devils completed the season sweep of the Cavaliers with an 81-71 win in Charlottesville Saturday night.

TOP 16: Committee reveals Top 16 teams in bracket preview | Katz predicts full field

Duke pulled off the win in an uncharacteristic fashion, shooting lights out from 3-point range. The Blue Devils — who went 2-for-14 from deep in January's matchup with Virginia — were 314th in the country with a 30.8 percentage from 3-point range coming into Saturday's game. They went 13-for-21 (61.9 percent) in the rematch.


That success came mainly from RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, who were 6-for-10 and 5-for-8 from deep respectively. Barrett finished with a game-high 26 points, and the freshman quartet for the Blue Devils (Barrett, Reddish, Zion Williamson, and Tre Jones) accounted for 74 of Duke's 81 points on the night.

Relive the action with our live blog below for live updates, stats, and highlights below:


What’s at stake

Both teams are tied with North Carolina atop the ACC standings at 8-1 in conference play. This weekend is the midway point of the ACC schedule, but this game could play a big role as a tiebreaker for the conference crown down the line.

View full ACC standings

Duke has only played two true road games against Top 10 teams since the 2016-17 season. Both came in 2017, when they lost 88-72 against No. 9 Florida State, and then lost 90-83 to No. 5 North Carolina.

And John Paul Jones Arena is not an easy place to play. The Cavaliers are 27-1 at home in the past two seasons, including 4-0 against ranked teams. Their only loss came on February 10, 2018, when they fell to Virginia Tech 61-60 in overtime.

DUKE TRACKER: Tracking Duke basketball through its grueling February schedule

Statistics breakdown of Duke vs. Virginia

Here’s how the two teams break down on some key statistics:

  Duke Virginia
Record 20-2 20-1
AP Rank 2 3
Points per game 87 72.9
Opponent points per game 65.2 52.9
Strength of schedule 14 56
Field goal percentage 48.6 47.7
3-point percentage 30.8 39.5
Rebounds per game 43 36.3
Assists per game 16.9 14.5
Steals per game 10.4 5.6
Turnovers per game 12.6 9

The key to the game: 3-point shooting

Virginia is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, but in the first matchup with Duke, they went 3-for-17 (17.6 percent) from deep — their worst shooting night from beyond the arc since they went 1-for-15 against Florida in the 2017 NCAA tournament. 

In the 20 other games they’ve played this year, Virginia is shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range, which would rank eighth in the country.

RANKING: The best 3-point shooting college basketball teams this century

The Cavaliers got lucky against Duke in January, as the Blue Devils were also miserable from deep, hitting just 2-for-14 (14.3 percent), which kept the game close throughout. However, Duke is much more equipped to deal with a poor shooting night. Duke shoots just 30.8 percent from 3-point range this season, ranked 314th in the country. 

Duke only gets 25.9 percent of its points from 3-pointers (the 313th-fewest in the country), while Virginia relies on 3-pointers for 32.6 percent of its scoring (151st in the country).

The implications are pretty strong — if Virginia can shoot at its normal clip, it should easily take the edge in this rematch. If they go cold again, expect Duke to walk away with a tough road win.

NCAA TOURNAMENT WATCH: 7 X-factors down the stretch | 5 teams you don't want to face


Virginia is deadly at home, and despite absolutely dreadful shooting the first time these two teams met, the Cavaliers more than held their own in the loss. Yes, Tre Jones — who was sidelined with an injury in the two teams’ first matchup — is back for Duke, and that will certainly make an impact, but if Virginia plays up to its potential, they’ll take the win. Score prediction: Virginia wins, 76-71

THE TOP 16: NCAA selection committee's in-season look at the bracket | Reaction | Katz's bracket

How we're doing with these predictions

We're at 8-6 on the year, recovering after a mid-season slump.

North Carolina vs. Louisville (Feb. 2)

  • Our pick: North Carolina
  • Result: Win

Kansas vs. Kentucky (Jan. 26)

  • Our pick: Kentucky
  • Result: Win

Michigan State vs. Iowa (Jan. 24)

  • Our pick: Michigan State
  • Result: Win

Kentucky vs. Auburn (Jan. 19)

  • Our pick: Auburn
  • Result: Loss

Virginia vs. Duke (Jan. 19)

  • Our pick: Virginia
  • Result: Loss

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia (Jan. 15)

  • Our pick: Virginia Tech
  • Result: Loss

Ohio State vs. Michigan State (Jan. 5)

  • Our pick: Michigan State
  • Result: Win

Virginia vs. Florida State (Jan. 5)

  • Our pick: Virginia
  • Result: Win

Kentucky vs. North Carolina (Dec. 22)

  • Our pick: North Carolina
  • Result: Loss

Gonzaga vs. North Carolina (Dec. 15)

  • Our pick: North Carolina
  • Result: Win

Kansas vs. Villanova (Dec. 15)

  • Our pick: Kansas
  • Result: Win

Gonzaga vs. Tennessee (Dec. 9)

  • Our pick: Gonzaga
  • Result: Loss

North Carolina vs. Michigan (Nov. 28)

  • Our pick: North Carolina
  • Result: Loss

Duke vs. Auburn (Nov. 20)

  • Our pick: Duke
  • Result: Win

Breakout first half shooting by Max Klesmit lifts Wisconsin over No. 3 Marquette

Wisconsin did not let No. 3 Marquette take the lead throughout regulation, led by Max Klesmit's 21 points for a massive 76-64 win over the top-3 team.

Northwestern forces 17 turnovers, Buie drops 31 points to defeat No. 1 Purdue in overtime

Northwestern upsets No. 1 Purdue 92-88 in overtime to hand the Boilermakers their first loss of the season.

35 fun numbers and nuggets from the first month of the men's college basketball season's Mike Lopresti shares some of the most notable numbers from November's wild college basketball slate.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners