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Losing skid continues to seven games

Cavaliers drop disheartening loss to top-ranked Blue Devils at home after poor performance behind arc

The three-point line keyed the Blue Devils' win against the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena last night. Duke worked its way to a 67-49 victory thanks to seven makes on 18 attempts from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Virginia, which has dropped its last seven games and remains in eighth in the ACC after the loss, could only manage a pitiful 31.4 percent from the field and 2-for-12 from three-point range.

"We're not playing well, there is no question about it," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "In a game like this, for us to even make it competitive, we needed a number of guys [to play well]."

The Cavaliers (14-13, 5-9 ACC) did not, however, get the contributions needed, as junior forward Mike Scott was held scoreless, and sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski went just 2-for-9 from the field.

"I thought some guys were a little nervous," Bennett said. "It was just frustrating we couldn't get some of those to go in."\nMost detrimental to Virginia's effort, though, was the absence of leading scorer sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg, who could only watch from the bench while he nursed a bruise to his thigh suffered during Virginia's last game against Miami.\n"I'm trying to think long-term," Bennett said. "I don't want him to irritate and aggravate that. Hopefully, Wednesday he'll be better and able to play. He was dying to play ... [But] he couldn't really go."

The only bright spot for the orange and blue was a career performance from senior center Jerome Meyinsse.

"Once I found out that [Landesberg] was out," Meyinsse said, "I just tried to be more aggressive on the offensive end because we had to make up about 18 or 19 points."

Meyinsse found more than that, finishing with 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and a block. During his 30 minutes on the court, the center efficiently finished six of his eight attempts and took advantage of trips to the charity stripe by making 9-of-11.

But his efforts did little to stem the beat-down Duke handed his team last night. Right out of the gates, the Blue Devils (25-4, 12-2 ACC) took an early lead as Virginia only managed one field goal in its first 12 attempts. During a game that was never close, both teams found opportunities to give their reserve players reps. Meanwhile, much of Virginia's fan base - with its seventh straight loss seemingly inevitable - trudged out of the stadium with 5:11 remaining when Duke achieved its largest lead of the game, 63-36.

Down 27 points and with no clear answer on either end of the court, freshman forward Tristan Spurlock made his way into the game.

"He is a work in progress. I just have to keep watching him," Bennett said regarding Spurlock's diminutive playing time, adding "that's a decision I've made up to this point."

When all was said and done, however, Spurlock had notched five points and two steals.

"He has a nice frame and he does some good things and you can see his ability in the open court," Bennett said.

Virginia now has two games left before the ACC Tournament. With some players hurt, the Cavaliers hope to regain the spark they played with early on in conference play.

"Just trying to get a win [is all we are thinking about right now]," Scott said. "Doing anything we need to get a basket, a stop - just a win"


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