Henderson, Duke pound VirginiaFeb 2, 2009 - 12:12 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Although Duke appears destined to lose its top ranking on Monday, the Blue Devils still got got another thumping of Virginia in.
Gerald Henderson scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half as No. 1 Duke crushed Virginia, 79-54, in Sunday's Atlantic Coast Conference contest.
Nolan Smith had 15 points and Jon Scheyer added 11 for the Blue Devils (19-2, 6-1 ACC), who improved to 15-0 all-time against the Cavaliers when holding the nation's top spot.
Meanwhile, Virginia dropped to 1-27 all-time in games against the No. 1 team.
The fourth team to be ranked No. 1 this season after getting the nod last Monday, Duke's stay atop the poll will probably be a short one after a last-second 70-68 loss at Wake Forest on Wednesday. Second-ranked Connecticut (20-1) has won its last nine games.
"I was really pleased with our team's effort," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They played an outstanding game defensively after a real tough loss at Wake Forest. I thought our intensity was excellent."
Henderson, who finished 6-of-13 from the field, did not take long to get started, scoring five points in the opening 78 seconds. The junior swingman also had nine points during a 16-2 run that gave the Blue Devils a 30-11 advantage midway into the first half.
The big first half continued an outstanding stretch for Henderson, who has averaged 20.4 points over his last seven games.
"I have a lot of confidence in my shooting," Henderson said. "I feel like I don't take a whole bunch of difficult shots, whether it be a kick out from one of my teammates or a pull-up where I can just elevate over guys and shoot it.
"(My confidence) is pretty high. I feel like I'm the best I've been since I've been here (at Duke), in terms of just my court awareness. I think a big thing has to do with my chemistry with my teammates, just knowing where they're going to be and them knowing where I'm going to be. That has a lot to do with the way we're playing and how I'm playing too."
Duke also scored seven of the final 10 points of the opening half, going ahead 43-21 when Greg Paulus hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left.
Paulus went on to finish with nine points for the Blue Devils, who led by no less than 21 points in the second half.
Overall, Duke shot 46 percent (31-of-67) from the field and 9-of-27 on 3-pointers. It will travel to Clemson for its next league game on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Virginia went 8-of-25 from the floor in the opening half en route to failing to score more than 63 points for the third time in its last four games.
"I don't have the particular answer," Cavaliers coach Dave Leitao said of his team's first-half performance. "Obviously during this stretch of games, we have gotten down by double figures and have had to climb out of a hole. And you are not going to be able to do that on road very much; you are not going to be able to do that against very good teams very much."
Sylven Landesberg scored 20 points for Virginia (7-10, 1-5), which lost for the fifth straight time.
"He's a really good player - he's an attacking player, puts you in a position where you can foul him," Krzyzewski said of Landesberg. "And we did for those two three-point plays. He's taller than I thought.
"He's a good player, and puts defenses in help-and-recover situations if you're not careful."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
VIRGINIA 21 33 54
DUKE (1) 43 36 79 FINAL
Feb 1 3:57 PM
- NCAA BB
(1) DUKE 43 HALFTIME
Feb 1 2:54 PM
- Krzyzewski has hernia surgery, expects to be healthy for Rio May 9
- Duke's Grayson Allen has hernia surgery Apr 22
- Duke's Jefferson receives medical hardship waiver Apr 22
- Duke freshman guard Derryck Thornton to transfer Apr 10
- Grayson Allen to return to Duke for junior season Apr 6
- Duke's Brandon Ingram declares for NBA Draft after 1 season Apr 4
- Duke: Coach K recovering from knee replacement surgery Apr 3
- Second-half collapse mars finish for Virginia's seniors Mar 28
- Top-seeded Virginia collapses late, loses 68-62 to Syracuse Mar 27
- Virginia knocking on door for Final Four Mar 27
- Duke ends with longer-than-expected NCAA run, short bench Mar 25
- Duke's title defense ends with 82-68 loss to Oregon Mar 25