Virginia kept trying to close the gap, and got within 66-61 on De'Andre Hunter's 3-pointer with 5:25 left, but Marques Bolden scored in close for the Blue Devils, Williamson scored on a stickback and Tre Jones hit a pull-up in the lane, boosting the margin back to 72-61.
"We were just in our zone and it's great to see when our team is like that", said Duke's R.J. Barrett, who had 26 points and was 6 for 10 on 3s. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome scored 16 points apiece for Virginia, who couldn't avenge their 72-70 loss to the Blue Devils on January 19.
Also in attendance at John Paul Jones Arena was former Duke star Grant Hill. Three of the four road games are at AP Top 25 teams Virginia (No. 3), Louisville (No. 16) and Virginia Tech (No. 11)... The 7-foot-1 redshirt sophomore made a three-pointer and delivered a pass into a tight window to Braxton Key for a layup that trimmed the deficit to 54-49 with 12:19 to play.
The Blue Devils weren't able to dislodge Tennessee from the top spot but they did cut into the Volunteers' lead. He was fouled on a drive with 11:21 and hit two free throws for a 59-49 Duke lead.
James had built a relationship with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski while playing with the USA men's national team when Krzyzewski was the head coach. "Not one guy, but they kind of took turns doing it".
It's hard to find fault in Bennett's plan, just as it wasn't when Notre Dame's Brey saw the Blue Devils hit nine of 16 while beating his Irish 83-61 back on January 28.
Duke played that game without Jones, who sat with a shoulder injury. Reddish was still able to help the team with six rebounds, six assists, five steals, and a block.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, had been dealing with uncertainty surrounding their starting point guard in Jerome. "I practiced off and on all week, and I practiced pretty much the whole time on Friday, and I felt all right". Duke's home games in this stretch are back-to-back rivalry match-ups versus NC State and No. 8 North Carolina...
It's unclear, according to Bennett, whether Diakite will be available against the Tar Heels.
Hunter says, "That was a big loss, he was playing really well. We knew nobody else was gonna win the game for us, so we just tried to keep our composure and play the rest of the 20 minutes".