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Feb. 28, 2002

Box Score | Video Highlights and Postgame Comments

Video Courtesy of ESPN
Virginia’s Jason Clark slams home the missed shot.
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Virginia’s Roger Mason Jr. steps back and buries the 3-pointer.
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AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)Keith Jenifer, of all people, helped Virginiaput some hope back into a quickly disintegrating season.

In a game the Cavaliers had to have, they overcame a 12-point deficit withseven minutes and beat No. 3 Duke 87-84 Thursday night.

The Blue Devils’ loss gave No. 2 Maryland the Atlantic Coast Conferencetitle outright for the first time since 1980. It also ended Duke’s five-yearhold on the crown, and may have put some hope back into what had been dyingNCAA tournament hopes for Virginia (17-9, 7-8).

Jenifer, a freshman point guard, hit floater over Carlos Boozer with 1:13 toplay that gave Virginia the lead for good.

“We were thinking of calling a timeout, but we kept him in and he had theguts to take the shot,” coach Pete Gillen said of the play, even more stunningbecause Jenifer has been such a reluctant shooter all season.

“Not many freshmen on national television against the No. 3 team in thecountry are going to take a shot like that,” Gillen said.

Especially not with so much at stake for a team that started 14-2, climbedas high as No. 4 in the AP poll by Dec. 31, and had been free-falling since.The Cavaliers had lost seven of nine, many in embarrassing fashion.

But Jenifer said he was just doing what he was told.

“The last couple of games, people have been sagging off of me, so I have tokeep them honest and I had to take a couple of shots tonight. (Gillen) told mebefore the game, `If they overplay, just go.’ I just thought about that, and Iwent,” he said after scoring 10 points.

Jenifer’s shot came during a 17-0 run, gave Virginia a 78-77 lead, its firstof the game, and brought the crowd to the edge of hysteria. When the Cavalierswent 9-of-10 from the free throw line over the next minute, they had the win.

“You need everything to beat a team like that, and tonight we had allcylinders running,” said Roger Mason Jr., who led Virginia with 22 points.

The Blue Devils (25-3, 12-3) had a chance to tie it when Jason Williams wasfouled while making a basket with 12.1 seconds left, but Williams missed thefree throw missed and Virginia rebounded.

“There are a lot of teams that lost seven of nine who aren’t good and don’thave any character, and they would have gotten killed,” Duke coach MikeKrzyzewski said in heaping praise on the character Virginia showed.

“Don’t try to lump them with some other teams. They aren’t lumpable”

The Cavaliers, playing for the first time since falling from the Top 25,trailed 77-65 with 6:53 left and appeared to be fading again.

But Virginia held the Blue Devils scoreless for more than 6{ minutes to openan 82-77 lead, then held on despite Williams’ late heroics.

“We went on a run, we rebounded, we defended, we made shots, we made freethrows and when it comes right down to it, when you make shots and you play,you’re going to win games,” Mason said.

Williams was just 4-for-13 from the field, but made a three-point play with22 seconds left to pull the Blue Devils within 84-82. After Adam Hall’s freethrow for Virginia, Williams had a chance to pull Duke even and silence thecrowd after rebounding his own miss and being fouled as his shot fell.

This time, though, his free throw bounced out, Mason added two free throwswith 9.1 seconds left and Chris Williams knocked the ball away from JasonWilliams, giving Mason two clinching free throws with four seconds to go.

He missed both, but Williams’ halfcourt heave at the buzzer missed.

“Hopefully we’ll realize this is not the end of it. Beating Duke is not ourSuper Bowl. It’s just a start,” said Mason, whose team plays Maryland onSunday in the final game at Cole Field House.

Hall added 21 points for Virginia in his final regular season home game,including five straight right before Jenifer’s go-ahead score. Chris Williamsadded 14 points, also in his final home game, and Travis Watson had 12 despitesitting out much of the second half with four fouls.

Boozer scored a career-high 33 points for Duke, but didn’t get a shot offover the last 8:47, or after his layup gave Duke a 74-59 lead. Boozer made 12of 13 shots and had made 50 of his last 59 from the field.

“It’d be nice to get him the ball,” Krzyzewski said of the closingminutes, “but I thought they played him tougher. And we had shots.”

Mike Dunleavy added 15 points for Duke, and Williams had 14.

A year ago, the Cavaliers ended a 12-game losing streak against Duke, andthe Blue Devils’ 24-game road winning streak, with a 91-89 victory. This time,they became only the second unranked ACC team to beat the Blue Devils in theirlast 61 games.

“We kept swinging,” said Gillen, who drew a technical foul late in thefirst half. “We finally defended in the last three or four minutes, and thathelped.”

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