The UVA men's basketball team snapped an eight-game losing skid to Duke Thursday night, beating the #3 ranked Blue Devils 73-68.
In front of a raucous sold out crowd, the Cavaliers built an early lead, and beat Duke for the first time in six years.
Senior point guard Jontel Evans says, "Duke is the only team I haven't beat since I've been here. To do it in my final year is just a great feeling. I'm very excited for my team, very proud of them. We came out here and played a great team, a great game. We were tough on both ends of the floor. It's just an unbelievable feeling "
In arguably Virginia's biggest game of the season, junior guard Joe Harris had his best game, scoring a career high 36 points, and proving he's no "Average Joe."
Harris says, "It was a team effort. It's not like I did it myself. Everybody played really sound on both ends. For the most part, I felt like we were in control for most of the game."
Virginia's Akil Mitchell won the battle of the big-men, outplaying ACC player of the year candidate Mason Plumlee, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Mitchell says, "It's a lot of ball pressure, and they try to speed you up. We kind of slowed down. We were putting up shots, and whenever we're doing that, especially at home, we're getting good ones."
Tony Bennett's Virginia defense held Blue Devils to 68 points, ten below their season average.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski says, "Virginia just played great. They were terrific, and they had our full attention, and full preparation for this. They beat us when we were trying to be at our best, and it's because of them that they were not."
John Paul Jones was rockin' all night, helping the 'Hoos win their 16th straight game at home.
Bennett says, "The way the crowd got behind them was great. I've been fortunate to be in a lot of pretty special settings, and this one ranked right up there with how loud it was. That's homecourt advantage. The guys fed off of it."
The 'Hoos now have 20 wins, improve to 10-5 in the ACC, and most importantly get that marquee win on their resume, which boots Virginia's chances for an NCAA tournament bid.
Harris says, "This is a big win for us, and a big win for our program, but we still have to finish out the year strong. There's no slouches in conference play. We have to finish the year on a high note, and hopefully we'll be fortunate to make the tournament."