"When it hit the rim, I was kind of shook," he said.
Then it fell through and the No. 23 Blue Devils were off the hook
with what became a 69-65 victory over visiting Virginia on Monday
night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"We needed it bad," Sulaimon said. "This was our home court as well.
We knew it was going to be a fight."
Sulaimon hit the go-ahead 3-point basket with 18.8 seconds left,
allowing him to finish with a season-best 21 points.
Virginia's rally from an 11-point deficit in the last four minutes
created a wild turnaround.
"To come back, they didn't fall apart. I liked what I saw," Virginia
coach Tony Bennett said. "We've got some tough, talented players. As
long as our guys stay hungry."
Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon tied the score at 63 on a three-point
play with 1:25 left. After Sulaimon made one of two foul shots at
the 54.4-second mark, Brogdon gave Virginia its only lead of the
game by making two free throws with 36.5 seconds to play.
Sulaimon's winning basket came after teammate Amile Jefferson kicked
out an offensive rebound.
"I just jumped in the air and that was the first person that I saw,"
Jefferson said. "That last 3, that's as big of a shot that you can
Jefferson stole a pass on Virginia's next possession, but Cavaliers
guard Joe Harris ended up with the ball seconds later and missed a
potential tying shot in the lane.
Jefferson tracked down the rebound and was fouled. He made two free
throws with 6.8 seconds remaining.
"We played with so much heart," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "It
was our best game as far as that goes."
It was a big recovery for the Blue Devils, who wilted in the second
half of Saturday's loss at Clemson.
"You couldn't ask for a better win than that," Jefferson said.
"We've just got to build on it."
Duke (13-4, 2-2), which had its first 1-2 start in ACC play since
the 2006-07 season, received 14 points from guard Rodney Hood.
Jefferson, a sophomore, finished with 10 points and a career-best 15
Virginia (12-5, 3-1), aiming for a 4-0 start in ACC play for the
first time since 1994-95, got 17 points from Brogdon and 15 from
Harris. Guard Justin Anderson added 12 points, including six during
the Cavaliers' 11-0 run to tie the score.
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Harris thought the Cavaliers were set up to win after Sulaimon's
"It's a play we work on pretty religiously," Harris said. "We
thought it would be there."
The Cavaliers entered the night as one of three teams — newcomers Pittsburgh and Syracuse were the others — without an
Virginia didn't trail in either of its previous two games. Then
it faced a game-long deficit at Duke.
"It's great to see that in our team, that we've got that fight,"
Harris said. "There was a lot of fight in us."
Harris, the team's leading scorer, didn't score until hitting a
3-pointer in the last two minutes of the first half.
Duke led 36-28 at halftime, but Virginia did well to stem some
of the momentum.
The Blue Devils' first substitution included five new players
even though Duke led 5-0 at the 16:45 mark.
Krzyzewski waving his arms to rile up the crowd a few times in
the opening half, the Blue Devils played with energy that was
lacking in some recent outings.
Duke scored the game's first eight points before Virginia
forward Akil Mitchell converted with 15:17 left in the half.
With the score 12-10, Virginia had a chance to pull even, but
center Mike Tobey missed a hook shot. Sulaimon scored the next
five points and then made a steal. Jefferson's basket pushed the
Blue Devils' lead to 19-10.
Back-to-back jumpers by Sulaimon — the first one a 3-pointer — built Duke's lead to 30-17 and caused a Virginia timeout.
Sulaimon had 12 points at the time, marking his biggest output
in ACC play this season.
NOTES: Duke played in its first game ever while holding a No. 23
ranking, their lowest rating in almost seven years. ... Virginia
faced a Duke team out of the top 10 for the first time in 11
years. ... The first three times when coming off a loss this
season, Duke won by an average of 21.7 points.... Duke freshman
G Matt Jones made his first career start. ... Virginia's last
win in Cameron Indoor Stadium came 19 years ago. ... The
Cavaliers didn't return home after defeating North Carolina
State on Saturday, instead going to nearby Durham to prepare for
the Duke matchup. ... Virginia outrebounded 13 of its first 16
opponents. ... The Cavaliers have posted single-digit turnover
totals in three of their first four ACC games, including eight
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