Allen’s buzzer-beater stuns Virginia

Brogdon’s go-ahead layup not enough following controversial no call

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Senior guard Malcolm Brogdon's reverse layup gave Virginia a 62-61 lead with 10 seconds remaining. The All-American also shut down Duke freshman phenom Brandon Ingram in the second half.

Marshall Bronfin | Cavalier Daily

For as much success as Virginia has had over the past two-and-a-half seasons, it has had a good number of heartbreakers too. Back-to-back NCAA tournament losses against Michigan State will surely haunt the basketball community well into the future.

Virginia’s loss against Duke Saturday certainly didn’t have the same implications as those two postseason defeats at the hands of the Spartans, but it probably left a similar sting.

The No. 7 Cavaliers (20-5, 9-4 ACC) hadn’t won in the 9,314-capacity stadium in 16 games. The last win came Jan. 14, 1995 in a 91-88 double overtime effort back when Curtis Staples, Junior Burrough, Harold Deane, Cory Alexander and current Assistant Coach Jason Williford donned the orange and blue jerseys.

If there was a time to win, this was certainly it. The Blue Devils (19-6, 8-4 ACC) were unranked for the first time in eight years, while Virginia was in the midst of a seven-game winning streak, including holding its previous four opponents to 50 points or fewer.

But Cavalier fans know how this one played one. Senior guard Malcolm Brogdon hit a go-ahead, reverse layup with 10 seconds left only to watch Duke sophomore guard Grayson Allen bank in a buzzer-beater shot.

“The basketball gods were good,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Virginia might beg to differ.

The Cavaliers used an 11-0 run to build a lead as large as 11 points with 6:55 left in the first half, but it never felt sustainable.

The Blue Devils started 1-of-9 from three, and their fortunes soon changed. When sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins picked up his second foul with 6:29 remaining, Duke took advantage.

Freshman forward Brandon Ingram and junior guard Matt Jones began to hit from outside, cutting the first half deficit to 34-31.

Ingram finished with 25 points on a 10-of-22 performance from the field, while Jones added 14 points on 4-of-5 from deep.

At 6-foot-9 with the shot and handles of a point guard, Ingram exploited Virginia all afternoon. Wilkins, senior forwards Anthony Gill and Evan Nolte and sophomore guard Marial Shayok all attempted with little success to guard the sure-fire lottery pick.

“We had a hard time with Ingram,” Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said. “Ingram got going, and they forced us to play four guards.”

Finally, Brogdon switched over to Ingram, who had just one field goal in the final 16:40.

“He’s a great player, but like anybody, if you make him uncomfortable, they’re not going to make as many shots,” Brogdon said. “I tried to do that in the second half.”

After falling behind by as many as seven points with 12:22 to play, Virginia buckled down and clawed its way back. The game had eight lead changes as the two heavy-weights traded blows in the second half.

The Cavaliers were unable to pull away though. Virginia finished just 2-of-11 from three, as Brogdon went just 1-of-6 and junior guard London Perrantes, who leads the nation in three-point percentage, according to Ken Pomeroy, did not attempt a single trey.

Meanwhile, after outrebounding Duke 16-10 in the opening stanza, the Cavaliers were outrebounded 24-10 in the second half.

“They have a lot of talented players — Ingram, Allen — all those guys are really talented,” Gill said. “They have a person at each position that can score [with senior center Marshall] Plumlee down there just to rebound everything. They created a lot of matchup problems for us.”

With Brogdon guarding Ingram, Allen — who had 15 points — took over the game for Duke. But after he missed two free throws, Virginia took possession, down 62-61, with 27 seconds remaining.

Shayok’s fall-back pass to Brogdon allowed the preseason ACC co-Player of the Year, who led Virginia with 18 points, to put up a reverse layup with 10 seconds remaining.

“It’s a great feeling, but you know you have six seconds left and you’re playing against one of the best coaches in the country,” Brogdon said. “You know they’re going to do something good.”

And the Cavaliers did. Shayok played tight defense against Allen, but the Blue Devils banked in an awkward shot at the buzzer, igniting the crazed minds of the Cameron faithful. Despite replays showing Allen likely traveled, Virginia players were indifferent.

“They’re not going to go back and say [we] won the game, so it really doesn’t matter,” Gill said.

The Cavaliers must regroup fast, as they host NC State Monday at 7 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena.

Despite its 3-9 conference mark, the Wolfpack pose a threat. Junior guard Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber, who averages 24.1 points per game, dropped 38 in a 99-88 win against Wake Forest Saturday.

Virginia will have a tough time forgetting Saturday, but Bennett, although disappointed, seemed ready to move forward.

“I give thanks because I told our guys you battled, and you showed some mettle in an obviously super charged environment,” Bennett said.

Krzyzewski added:

“They’re a really good team and it was one play. They could’ve won, but we did. I thought we earned it, but if they would’ve won, they would’ve earned it. I thought both teams were deserving of winning and that’s what makes a great game when that happens.”

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