WASHINGTON (AP) -- For much of the season, J.J. Redick used his marvelous shooting touch to lift Duke to victory.
He could barely hit the side of the rim Friday night, yet his teammates played well enough to carry the fifth-ranked Blue Devils to a 76-64 victory and a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals.Redick, who came in averaging a team-high 22.6 points, missed 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 4-for-17, including 3-for-12 from 3-point range. He had three points at halftime and finished with 15, a number padded by four free throws in the final two minutes.But Daniel Ewing and Lee Melchionni picked up the slack by scoring 16 points apiece, and Shelden Williams had 10 points and 12 rebounds."I'm a pretty important part of the offense as far as putting points on the board, and we run a lot of stuff for me. I was working hard tonight for my shots and I got some open looks, but I never really found the rhythm in the first half," Redick said. "I really struggled."Advancing to the tournament semifinals for an eighth straight season, third-seeded Duke (23-5) will face North Carolina State on Saturday afternoon. The Wolfpack, who lost to the Blue Devils by 12 points in January, advanced by upsetting third-ranked Wake Forest 81-65.Duke hasn't lost an ACC tournament opener since 1997 and is seeking its sixth title in seven years. If the Blue Devils are to advance to the finals again, they must shoot better than the 37 percent they mustered against Virginia."It wasn't a great shooting night; a lot of that had to do with Virginia's defense," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They really pressured our perimeter guys well and we didn't get a lot of open looks."Sean Singletary scored 16 and Devin Smith had 13 for Virginia (14-15), which may have played its final game under coach Pete Gillen. Despite their surprising victory over Miami in the opening round, the Cavaliers finished in last place in the ACC and staggered to their first losing season since 1998-99, Gillen's first year at the school.Asked to assess his future, Gillen replied, "That will be determined next week. I'll just say this -- the University of Virginia deserves better than 14-15 that we gave them this year and I take the blame for that."Krzyzewski said he hoped Gillen would be back but spoke as if he expected the worse."Godspeed to him," he said. "It's been an honor to be his friend and his colleague here in the ACC."Even though Redick had a miserable first half and the Blue Devils were a collective 9-for-33 (27 percent) with 15 minutes elapsed, Virginia failed to take advantage. A 3-pointer by Ewing erased a 23-21 deficit and put Duke ahead for good.The Blue Devils led by two before Melchionni sank two 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that made it 40-28 at halftime.Virginia, however, wouldn't go away. J.R. Reynolds scored six points in a 13-3 spree at the outset of the second half that got the Cavaliers to 43-41. Virginia then had two chances to tie or take the lead but misfired on both occasions.Redick followed with a 3-pointer, only his second basket of the game, and Williams added a layup to make it 50-43.The Cavaliers closed to 55-50 before Redick connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner and Ewing made a layup for a 60-50 lead with 9:01 left.Duke never let the margin shrink below eight points in defeating Virginia for an eighth straight time."I think we just had to get used to the rims a little bit. We didn't shoot well in the first half, with the exception of Lee," Redick said. "We couldn't get in any flow offensively, but we made enough stops to give ourselves a working margin, and then we just did an amazing job on the boards. A lot of different guys grabbed a
lot of rebounds."Duke outrebounded the Cavaliers 54-30 and grabbed 23 on offense.Virginia missed seven of its first eight shots to open the game, but Duke was even worse. The Blue Devils went 2-for-14 from the floor, 0-for-2 at the line, and committed two turnovers in falling behind 12-5.After Duke got 3-pointers from DeMarcus Nelson and Melchionni in an 8-1 spurt that tied it, the Cavaliers ran off seven straight points before Redick pulled out of an 0-for-4 start with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.It turned out to be his only points during the opening 20 minutes.