Duke takes down Virginia, 76-64, assumes usual spot in semifinals

Devils in ACC's final 4 for eighth straight season

ACC Tournament

March 12, 2005|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- J.J. Redick was tossing up bricks. Shelden Williams had three guys in his face every time he touched the ball, and could hardly get a shot off. Daniel Ewing was struggling to play defense, getting beat off the dribble repeatedly.

The usual suspects weren't much of a factor for Duke last night against Virginia. But thanks to Lee Melchionni, a lanky, left-handed shooter with a silky three-point stroke, it hardly mattered.

Melchionni -- a junior forward from Lancaster, Pa., who has started just 12 games this season -- made four three-pointers, tied his career high with 16 points and led third-seeded Duke to a 76-64 victory over No. 11 seed Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals at MCI Center.

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils (23-5) will play North Carolina State today. It will be Duke's eighth straight trip to the tournament semifinals.

Melchionni, who came into the contest averaging just 3.7 points a game for his career, hit two of his three-pointers during a 13-2 Duke run before halftime that gave the Blue Devils a 40-28 lead going into the locker room.

"He killed us with some open shots," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said of Melchionni. "We left him open, and he nailed them. He was their fourth option after guys like Redick and Ewing. We tried to cheat off him a little bit, and we didn't play smart, leaving him open."

Virginia managed to claw its way back into the game with 16 points from freshman point guard Sean Singletary, cutting the lead to 55-50 at one point, but rebounding proved to the difference down the stretch. The Blue Devils cleaned up on the glass, out-rebounding the Cavaliers 54-30, led by 12 from Williams and nine from Melchionni.

"I wouldn't say Lee so much had to wait his turn," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"He worked really hard. He was playing behind some really talented guys. I had to make the decision every game last year whether to start him or Luol Deng. Nothing personal to Lee, but that was an easy call. We did expect him to be a good player, but he's been an outstanding player for us in the ACC."

Duke needed it on a night when Redick, the Blue Devils' leading scorer, struggled. Redick went just 1-for-10 from the field in the first half, and finished 4-for-17 for just eight points.

"J.J. is such a good shooter that he's going to draw defenders to him," Melchionni said. "It's my job in that situation to step up and hit shots."

Duke also got a solid contribution from reserve David McClure, who scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds.

The loss eliminated Virginia (14-15) from consideration for the National Invitation Tournament, where teams need a .500 record to be invited.

VIRGINIA -- Smith 4-12 3-4 13, Soroye 0-1 0-0 0, Reynolds 3-9 3-5 11, Bannister 2-5 2-4 6, Singletary 5-12 5-5 16, Campbell 1-1 1-1 3, Forbes 1-4 0-0 2, Joseph 1-3 0-0 2, Cain 1-4 0-0 2, Forkin 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 4-7 0-0 9, Nacey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 14-19 64. DUKE -- Melchionni 5-11 2-4 16, Randolph 1-3 3-5 5, Williams 4-11 2-5 10, Redick 4-17 4-4 15, Ewing 5-10 5-6 16, McClure 3-4 2-2 9, Nelson 1-6 0-0 3, Love 1-3 0-0 2, Perkins 0-0 0-0 0, Davidson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 18-26 76. Halftime--Duke 40-28. 3-point goals--Virginia 6-15 (Reynolds 2-5, Smith 2-5, Brown 1-1, Singletary 1-2, Forbes 0-2), Duke 10-28 (Melchionni 4-9, Redick 3-12, McClure 1-1, Nelson 1-2, Ewing 1-4). Fouled out--Nelson. Rebounds--Virginia 30 (Singletary 7), Duke 54 (Williams 12). Assists--Virginia 8 (Bannister 4), Duke 13 (Ewing 6). Total fouls--Virginia 20, Duke 16.

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