Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/1/13
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee sat just a few feet apart in Dukes locker room late Thursday night physically drained but not confused about what had transpired over the previous two hours. The third-ranked Blue Devils lost 73-68 to Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena in a game that was more lopsided than the final score suggests. Duke trailed by 14 points with nearly three minutes left and was reeling on the floor. It was beaten soundly by a team that if a draft were to occur of players from both rosters, would be nearly intact by the time the reserves were all that remained for Duke. But for some reason Curry couldnt explain, Duke didnt match Virginias energy. And as a result, Duke simply couldnt match Virginia. They were just physical, said Curry, who had 28 points, 23 in the second half. They didnt let us run our cuts the way we wanted to, they showed real hard on ball screens and trapped in the post. We just werent physical enough and we didnt match their energy and physicality to start the game. Virginia led 9-0 and 15-4, as two Blue Devils Rasheed Sulaimon and Curry shot air balls. And while the Devils nearly caught the Cavaliers at 22-21, listless Duke never could get over the hump. And instead of staying right there, they watched the Cavs, mainly Joe Harris, open up a workable margin. Here are some of Dukes ugly numbers that tell a clear tale: The Blue Devils (24-4, 11-4) shot just 39.6 percent from the floor, including only 32 percent from 3-point range, and that includes Currys 4-for-8 performance. Duke had just eight assists on its 21 field goals, managed on three fast-break points, and an alarming five second-chance points. The Devils were also outrebounded by 11 in part because they were slow to box out on both ends of the floor. Virginia was most effective not letting ACC Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee get comfortable touches most of the night. Plumlee said he felt like there were always four and sometimes six eyes on him at all times, and no matter what a Cavalier was always within an arms reach. Before the catch they were playing like a man-and-a-half, and then on the catch the four man would run and double, Plumlee explained. They were quick double teams. Sometimes they would stay with the double and sometimes they would go away. We worked on it in practice and I dont know how we didnt do a better job of making them pay for that. For Plumlee, who came in averaging 17.5 points and 10.7 rebounds, the 10-point, seven-rebound performance was his second poor effort in the last two weeks. The other, a four-point, three-rebound game came two weeks ago in a loss at Maryland. Afterward, Plumlees Hall of Fame coach said the 6-foot-11 senior was tired. There were no such excuses by Mike Krzyzewski after this defeat. He did, however, reference the absence of senior forward and third leading scorer Ryan Kelly as part of Dukes problem. Kelly has missed Dukes last 13 games with a foot injury but is close to returning. Without him, Plumlee has at times struggled because defenses were laying off of Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson, both of whom have been the primary substitutes for Kelly. Neither player is much of a scoring threat, so double down on Plumlee has been a consistent game plan. It worked on this night. Those kids have done a good job for us but tonight they didnt play very well, Krzyzewski said. We had zero offensive rebounds from that position and that position is not blocked out. Given Dukes remaining schedule, Thursdays loss means earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament appears less likely. The Blue Devils host Miami on Saturday evening, and keep in mind, the Hurricanes beat then-No. 1 Duke by 27 points in their first meeting. Duke also closes the regular season at surging North Carolina. Two more ACC losses could send the Devils to the fifth spot in the ACC Tournament, meaning Krzyzewskis team would have to play on Thursday and win four games to capture the championship. This was a blow to Dukes aspirations for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and ends its ACC regular season title hopes. Now it must quickly regroup to take on an even more formidable opponent than Virginia. Thats what we want, Curry said. We want to get back out on the curt and play another game as soon as possible. Whenever you have a bad game like this as a team you want to get back out there and redeem yourself.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

TCU extends Gary Patterson through 2024 season

Shohei Ohtani studies Bryce Harper to improve hitting

Chris Harris: Broncos need to get 'mind-control' over AFC West back

WATCH: Pat Narduzzi predicts Pitt upset win over Miami in halftime interview

Report: Florida moving on from Chip Kelly

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Derrick Rose away from team, considering NBA future

Report: Mississippi St. set to go ‘all in’ to keep Dan Mullen

Eli Manning: Losing so much 'can wear you out'

Chargers have 'real concerns' about Mike Williams's knee?

Jerry Jones reiterates support for Jason Garrett

Jay Bilas: NCAA offered committee spot to silence me

The 'Profound mound of rebound' quiz

15 key questions for NFL Week 12

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

Biggest sports turkeys of 2017

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Profound mound of rebound' quiz

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker