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Duke takes care of Virginia despite Singler's bad night

Feb 17, 2011 - 4:02 AM Charlottesville, VA (Sports Network) - Nolan Smith posted his customary stat line, 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and fifth-ranked Duke downed Virginia, 56-41, despite the worst statistical game of star forward Kyle Singler's career.

Ryan Kelly chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds and Mason Plumlee donated nine points and nine boards for Duke (24-2, 11-1 ACC), which won its fifth straight game despite 18 turnovers and a two-point night for Singler, his worst scoring game as a Blue Devil. He went scoreless in a first half for the first time and finished three points below his last single-digit game, coincidentally against Virginia on February 1, 2009.

"He's a human being," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Singler's play. "Kyle's won 117 games as a player he's 117-20. He's entitled to not playing as well every once in a while. In other words, he's a champion. I'm okay with Kyle."

Mustapha Farrakhan led Virginia (12-13, 3-8) with 11 points and Joe Harris added eight. The Cavaliers made just 28.6 percent of their shots in dropping a third straight game.

"Let's call it what it is. You've got to be able to make some baskets, you've got to be able to make some shots," said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.

Virginia started the game with four guards and took it to the Blue Devils, attacking the defense and running off 10 straight points capped by Farrakhan's layup for a 12-7 edge.

The momentum didn't last long because the Cavs couldn't find the bottom of the net despite repeated Duke miscues. The Blue Devils took the edge for good at 16-15, part of eight straight points for a 21-15 advantage.

The Cavs managed just four points in the final 3 1/2 minutes and trailed 34-26 despite Singler's goose egg.

The forward's lone points came on a mid-range jumper with 16 minutes to play, pushing the margin to double digits at 39-28. In total, Smith's layup cemented a 14-4 scoring stretch to start the second half for a 45-30 lead. As part of that burst, Seth Curry's jumper moments earlier gave Duke more points with 12 1/2 minutes left than Virginia ended with when time expired.

The Blue Devils rolled to victory from there.

Game Notes

Singler finished 1-for-5 from the floor...Plumlee and Kelly combined to make 9-of-12 shots...Duke leads the all-time series, 114-48...Virginia fell to 9-5 at home.