The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

Investigation ongoing in Oct. 10 shooting in downtown South Hill

Two years, two months to make up in 180 days

A daunting task to bring students up to speed after long absence

Discipline issues grab spotlight on Halifax County School Board

HCHS principal pushes back at rumors as trustees spar over high school; board votes to hire officers for Comet games


Comet girls get first cross country win of season





Sports Today for Jan. 16 ,2014 / January 16, 2014
Unranked Virginia, which came about one centimeter short of springing a mild upset at Cameron Indoor Stadium Monday night, gets Florida State at home Saturday.

No. 23 Duke, which regards its win over Virginia as a turning point in its season, has an opportunity for continued momentum Saturday against an N.C. State squad which has struggled on the road this season.

Both the Blue Devils and Cavaliers appear to be at least a step behind Syracuse, which may be the lone legitimate Final Four contender from the ACC this season.

The Cavaliers, now 12-5 and 3-1 in a very competitive men’s ACC race after Monday’s 69-65 loss to Duke, clearly have grown since December, both on offense and defense.

Virginia trailed Duke by 13 points in the first half, and then found itself down by the same margin again in the second half. The Cavaliers exposed some defensive liabilities from the Blue Devils and gave Duke fits down the stretch.

Virginia finally forged a one-point lead with 38 seconds remaining at Cameron.

Had Rasheed Sulaimon’s game-winning three, off an assist from Amile Jefferson, bounced just slightly off-target, Virginia would have prevailed in Durham.

Duke, now 13-4 and 2-2 in the ACC race, celebrated with heartfelt emotion. You rarely see Mike Krzyzewski leaping into the embrace of Steve Wojciechowski very often, but that’s how Coach K celebrated Monday night as the coaching staff ran off the court.

The Blue Devils had to be relieved, but serious questions remain about the long-term basketball prospects of this Duke team.

Virginia finished with three double figure scorers. The Cavaliers outshot the Blue Devils (43.8 percent to 42.1 percent) in the second half, winning the last 20 minutes, 37-33.

Duke outshot the Cavaliers, but Duke came within a whisker of blowing the Virginia game. No question. And that near-collapse came after questions emerged about the overall toughness and defensive prowess of this Duke squad, especially in the recent loss to Clemson.

Virginia had a particularly telling edge in points in the paint, 32-18, and second-chance points, 19-11. Duke’s Jabari Parker, who was not on the court at crunch time Monday and went just 3-for-11 against strong defensive work by Virginia’s Akil Mitchell, continues to deal with tough lessons from the college game. ACC defenses are also breaking down Parker’s game to a degree. Parker is apparently a defensive liability of sorts, and he’s learning that, even after the early season hype of his game, the ACC regular season is a much more demanding test indeed.

Parker is now 14-for-46 from the field against ACC competition. He’s still viewed as a lock to leave early for the NBA.

Without the emergence of Amile Jefferson, who had a monster outing against Virginia, and Sulaimon’s heroics, Virginia would have prevailed.

Jefferson hauled in 15 rebounds, adding ten points, with two assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Sulaimon, once struggling and apparently lacking confidence earlier, saved the Blue Devils with 21 points, two assists and two steals.

But Duke still lacks the kind of consistent energy and passion in the paint this squad will likely need to make a deep NCAA run. There are no guarantees that Jefferson, who has emerged as Duke’s leading rebounder in six of the last nine games, will continue to produce like he did against Virginia.

Before Monday night, the 6-9 sophomore from Philadelphia had produced only nine double-figure points games and four double-figure rebounding efforts in his career.

That said, the ironclad rule remains: NEVER completely count out Mike Krzyzewski.

Virginia, meanwhile, took on arguably the toughest road test the ACC can dish out and stood tall, even with a bitter loss. The Cavaliers have to gain confidence with this toe-to-toe slugfest in Durham. But this was the lone meeting in the regular season between Duke and Virginia.

Virginia, which welcomes a very inconsistent North Carolina squad to Charlottesville on Monday, should be feeling positive vibes about its ability to hang in long-term in what promises to be a bruising ACC regular season race.

Sports Coverage

See complete sports coverage for Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.