Jones: Duke-Virginia report card

Jones: Duke-Virginia report card

Published Jan. 13, 2012 1:41 a.m. ET

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke's 61-58 victory over Virginia on Thursday night was hardly a masterpiece if fluidity and finesse are your cup of tea.

But it was a fine game that required both teams play at a high level and to reach into their toughness banks to grind out a game that should serve both well down the road.

The Blue Devils (14-2, 2-0 ACC) made some nice defensive adjustments at halftime, which proved to be the difference in the contest, in which Virginia led 32-28 at halftime. The Cavaliers (14-2, 1-1) showed plenty of grit in fighting back from a 9-point deficit to have a chance to send the game into overtime in the final seconds.

Four Devils were in double figures, led by Mason Plumlee's 12 points, despite 2-for-10 shooting from the free throw line. Mike Scott led Virginia with 23 points while Joe Harris chipped in 14 despite first-half foul trouble.

Here is the report card for both teams from Wednesday night's performance:

Virginia offense: Any time you convert less than 40 percent of your field goal attempts it's generally not a good night. But with an eye on learning about yourself and looking down the road, that UVa forced Duke to make defensive adjustments at halftime in its own fabled building bodes well for the Cavaliers. Virginia needs more balance, though. Grade: C

Duke offense: Duke only hit 5 of 20 3-point attempts, but each was big and came at necessary times. Andre Dawkins was huge scoring 10 points off the bench, but a workmanlike effort was needed to overcome its offensive struggles at the point, and had a tough time getting good looks in stretches in both halves. That said, Duke still converted better than 60 percent of its field goal attempts after halftime. Grade: B

Virginia defense: Rarely will teams shoot so well against the Cavaliers, but Duke made good on 52 percent of its shot attempts on the night, including going 19-for-26 on shots that didn't come from beyond the 3-point arc. Grade: C-

Duke defense: Not so hot in the first half but much better after the intermission. UVa converted 52 percent of its shots in the first 20 minutes and only 29.4 percent afterward. Duke not only slowed down Scott, but it also cut off driving lanes and contested most of the rest of UVa's shot attempts. Grade: B

Virginia intangibles: UVa had to dig into its bench and got a terrific effort from everyone. The Cavaliers were dialed in and appeared completely on the same page with each other as well as coach Tony Bennett. Grade: A

Duke intangibles: As usual, the Devils trusted Mike Krzyzewski and executed his halftime demand to near perfection. Duke played its guts out, and the coach made numerous quality substitutions. Grade: A