College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, February 28, 2013
A golden opportunity staring them in the face, the #3 Duke Blue Devils could not contain Virginia's Joe Harris, the junior guard scoring a career-high 36 points en route to a 73-68 Cavalier upset in Charlottesville, VA.
Harris, who averages more than 17 points per game, outdid his previous career mark by 10 points. The Cavaliers took a five-point lead into the half and played the Blue Devils even up in a wide open second half, each team scoring 45 points.
Joe Harris poured in 12 of 20 shots from the field and added 10 more points (on 12 attempts) from the foul line, disrupting Duke's plans and practically handing the conference title to the 14-1 Hurricanes in the process. Harris also ripped down seven rebounds and had a pair of assists, two blocks and a steal before fouling out late in the contest, which Virginia led throughout.
Virginia out-rebounded Duke, 36-25, with Akil Mitchell snagging 12 boards to go with his 19 points, his ninth double-double of the season.
Duke entered the game with an 11-3 conference mark, trailing Miami, whom they host this Saturday, by two games, so the opportunity to narrow the gap in the ACC was present, though predicated on winning at Virginia.
With a three-game lead in the standings, the Hurricanes have only to win one of their remaining three games. Following this Saturday afternoon's tilt at Cameron Indoor, the Hurricanes close out the season at home against Georgia Tech and Clemson. Those teams have identical 5-10 ACC records.
20-8 Virginia is poised for a nice post-season run. They are tied with North Carolina four third place in the ACC with a 10-5 record.