Nelson leads Duke to strong ACC startJan 14, 2008 - 5:30 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- DeMarcus Nelson and Duke did not skip a beat heading into conference play.
Nelson scored 20 points and Gerald Henderson added 18 as the seventh-ranked Blue Devils posted an 87-65 victory over Virginia on Sunday in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Freshman Kyle Singler had 13 points and Jon Scheyer chipped in 12 for Duke (12-1, 1-0 ACC), which won its league opener for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
Overall, the Blue Devils are 21-7 in ACC openers under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils had a very favorable start to their latest campaign in the ACC, facing a Cavaliers squad that has been turned away lacking in their last 12 trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The last time that Virginia won here was in double overtime in 1995.
Nelson, who finished 8-of-12 from the field, had seven points as Duke grabbed a 15-6 lead with just over five minutes expired. Henderson added a 3-pointer about a minute later, and the lead grew to 21-9 after Scheyer split two free throws with 12:17 remaining.
The Cavaliers did not help themselves at the start, committing nine of their 18 turnovers inside the first 11 1/2 minutes. The Blue Devils finished with 17 points off of turnovers.
Dropping a 68-66 decision at Virginia in the team's only meeting last year, the Blue Devils ended up with a 43-31 cushion at the break before opening up a 19-point lead in the second half on a 3-pointer by Nelson with 9:53 remaining.
Nelson connected on three baskets from the arc en route to reaching 20 points for the third time in five games.
Last winning here in 1995, Virginia (10-4, 0-1) was paced by Sean Singletary, who had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The senior guard was not completely immune to Duke's defensive pressure, committing six turnovers.
Calvin Baker had 13 points and Mamadi Diane added 11 for the Cavaliers, who had a streak of consecutive wins over a ranked opponent snapped at five.
Virginia posted a 75-72 victory at then-No. 17 Arizona on November 17. However, the Cavaliers have dropped their last two road games at Xavier and Duke by a combined 60 points.
Entering the contest first in the ACC in 3-pointers made at 9.69 and third in 3-point percentage (.405), Virginia was limited to a season-low 4-of-14 (29 percent) from the arc.
Meanwhile, Duke finished 11-of-31 (35.5 percent) from long range, the seventh time this season it has connected on at least 10 3-pointers.
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