March 16, 2014

2014 Men's ACC Championship: Virgina vs. Duke [GAME NOTES]

The first half of this ACC Championship game was about defense and toughness. Virginia leads the country in points allowed (55.1) and they showed why, holding Duke, the second-most efficient offensive team in the country per 100 possessions, to just 4 points in the first 7:20 and 25 for the half (lowest first half total for Duke this season). Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Anderson, and Akil Mitchell made concerted efforts on Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, combined for just 4-18 in the first half. Virginia's team defense was active and cohesive with Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill on the back line, giving up only several clean looks at the rim. Their patience on offense gave them some good looks on penetration, but neither team showed any real rhythm until the last few minutes of the half. We'll see who throws the first punch and where the toughness, rhythm, and big plays come from in the second half.

HALF: Virginia - 28 Duke - 25

Virginia won their first ACC Championship title since 1976 by maintaining toughness and poise in the second half, getting the shots they wanted on offense and holding off a run from Jabari Parker which gave Duke their first lead since 2-0 at the 8:36 mark. Overall the Cavaliers had the more balanced, aggressive attack, getting 17 free throw attempts from Anthony Gill alone and 38 total as a team. Duke had Rasheed Sulaimon go 1-6 from the floor. Rodney Hood (4-12) struggled to find a consistent rhythm, leaving most of the scoring burden to Parker. In the final six minutes Virginia had crucial plays made by Gill, Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon, and Akil Mitchell, indicative of how the Cavaliers have been successful this season.

- Martin S. (@marley_mcfly)

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