Joe Harris had just scored a career-high 36 points, essentially half of his team's total in a 73-68 victory against No. 3 Duke, and the...
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Joe Harris had just scored a career-high 36 points, essentially half of his team’s total in a 73-68 victory against No. 3 Duke, and the junior guard was talking about “a team effort” and how the Cavaliers played “sound defense.”
Joe, was that the best performance of your basketball career?
“I guess you could say that,” he finally allowed.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t quite as reluctant to heap on the praise.
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“Harris was fantastic, which we knew he would be. He’s just one of the best players in the country,” Krzyzewski said. “When you have a guy playing at that level … it brings everybody up. You know you’re playing with a stud.”
Harris and Akil Mitchell, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, combined for 55 of the Cavaliers’ points as they celebrated the 11-year anniversary of their last victory over a top 5 team by doing it again on Thursday night.
When Virginia’s 16th consecutive home victory was finished, fans stormed the court.
“It’s just great,” senior point guard Jontel Evans said. “They’re the reason we go so hard when we’re here. We feed off their energy. They’ve been great. They’ve just been unbelievable this year. I’ve never seen support like this.”
Virginia (20-8, 10-5 Atlantic Coast) beat No. 3 Duke 87-84 11 years ago, their last top 5 victory.
This time, Duke never led.
“That’s unbelievable right there, that they never led in the game,” Evans said.
Seth Curry led Duke with 28 points, all but five coming after halftime, and Quinn Cook had 22, but the Blue Devils (24-4, 11-4) failed to slow down either Harris or Mitchell, whose dominating play kept a sellout crowd giddy all night.
Mason Plumlee finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three turnovers and several times looked up to see Mitchell dunking over him.
Report: Catholic schools getting Big East name
The so-called Catholic Seven schools in the Big East are expected to start their new league for the 2013-14 academic year and officially will take the Big East name with them, according to an ESPN report.
DePaul, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Georgetown will add Butler and Xavier immediately, the report said. The new league is expected to take much more care in which schools it selects after that.
The football members will meet in Atlanta on Friday to discuss the departure of the seven basketball schools. Big East commissioner Mike Aresco told The Associated Press no deal has been completed between the two groups but “some of this stuff is clearly coming down to the wire.”
Top 5 women
At Miami 69, No. 5 Duke 65
Stefanie Yderstrom and Pepper Wilson each scored 16 points, Krystal Saunders added 15 and Miami gave its NCAA tournament résumé a boost. Morgan Stroman added 11 for the Hurricanes (19-9, 10-7 ACC). Miami had been 0-10 all-time against Duke, where Hurricanes coach Katie Meier starred as a player.
Elizabeth Williams and Haley Peters each scored 17 for the Blue Devils (26-2, 16-1), who already have locked up the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament.
At Gonzaga 59, Portland 56
Junior Jazmine Redmon hit two free throws and redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek made a steal with five seconds left to secure the win for Gonzaga.
Cheslek scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs (25-5, 15-1 West Coast), who already had secured their ninth straight WCC regular-season title. Amy Pupa had 13 points for the Pilots (10-18, 5-10).
Sports information departments
contributed to this report.