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Do The Cavaliers Want Kihei Clark Taking 15 Shots?

No one should be surprised that junior point guard Kihei Clark played 38 minutes in Virginia's 66-65 loss Saturday night at Duke.

But, do the Cavaliers want him taking 15 shots?

Another starter, Trey Murphy III, played 36 minutes. He took two shots.

The argument could be made that Murphy needed to become more involved or that teammates didn't get him the ball. Clark was as involved as he could be and maybe moreso.

Seven-footer Jay Huff had a team-high 20 points to go with a game-high 12 rebounds and two blocked shots in a return to his home town. He also had a dunk that didn't count after a buzzer-beating attempt by Clark.

Virginia, now 15-5 overall and 11-3 in the ACC, had entered the game as a 3-point favorite over the Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6). Also top 2019-20 signee Jalen Johnson had left the team with six games remaining in the regular season.

On his radio show earlier in the week, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had taken a shot at Johnson.

"That guy was hurting them, so they actually are much better now without him," Boeheim said. "They've got very good talent.

"You knew they were going to play out of this thing and now they're [the Blue Devils] playing very well."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, in his postgame comments Saturday, seemed to be rejuvenated.

"It's sad that fans were not at this game," he said, not that they had a choice,. "This was an epic game.

"This was a great basketball game tonight. Every possession was fought. [It] seemed like every dribble at times. They're [the Cavaliers] poised and they play great defense.

"Huff is a great player. He and [Sam] Hauser are two of the great players in America. Jay is such a good basketball player [with] his footwork, his touch and his ball-handling. [Duke seven-footer] Mark [Williams] hasn’t guarded anyone like that."

Next up for the Cavaliers is a 6:30 p.m. visit from North Carolina State, a 63-57 UVa victim in Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 3.

It will be interesting to see if 3-point specialist Tomas Woldetensae is available to play Wednesday after contract tracing for COVID-19 kept him off for the trip to Durham.

Sophomore Casey Morsell logged 26 minutes off the bench and scored seven points, although he missed both ends of a two-shot free-throw opportunity in the second half.

It wasn't a night to remember for the UVa guards, including Reece Beekman, a starter for the Cavaliers in all 20 games this season who logged 20 minutes Saturday night but was scoreless.

Hauser led the Cavaliers in assists with three.

It was the first and last meeting of the teams during the regular season and it could 't have been closer in some areas. The Cavaliers were 26-of-52 from the field and Duke was 26-of-51, led by 6-9 sophomore Matt Hurt, who was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers while his teammates were a combined 4-of-15 from beyond the arc.

"You look at some of the breakdowns [and] you could have won that one," UVa coach Tony Bennett said of the opportunities that UVa was presented, "but you've got to move on."

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