Virginia comes up short in ACC final against Duke, 59-49

By Scott Ratcliffe

Virginia during the 2023 New York Life ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. March 11th, 2023 (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/ACC)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Virginia got off to a rough start and could never get over the hump in a 59-49 loss to No. 21 Duke in the ACC Tournament championship game Saturday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The 13th-ranked Cavaliers (25-7) missed eight of their first 10 shots on the evening, and after getting behind early, couldn’t make up enough ground to catch the red-hot Blue Devils (26-8), winners of their last nine games.

Duke freshman 7-footer Kyle Filipowski, who failed to score against the Cavaliers in the teams’ lone regular-season meeting, caught fire early on and along with junior guard Jeremy Roach, the Devils outlasted the Wahoos in a defensive slugfest.

Filipowski and Roach combined for all but 16 of the Blue Devils’ points on the night, with Roach pouring in a game-high 23 on 7-of-12 shooting and Filipowski adding a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Virginia trailed 22-11 late in the first half, but used a 6-2 mini-run to close the half and remain within striking distance, down 24-17 at the half. The Cavaliers uncharacteristically committed 7 turnovers in the first half and 12 on the night, and Duke converted those mistakes into 13 points on the other end.

An Isaac McKneely 3-pointer trimmed Duke’s lead to six points, 38-32, with 8:33 remaining, giving the Wahoo faithful a glimmer of hope with plenty of time left to make one final push, but the Devils were able to withstand any such surge, as the Cavaliers never got it any closer than 4 points the rest of the night.

Kihei Clark sank a pair of free throws to cut it to seven, 45-38, with 5:30 to play, and then after an emphatic Ryan Dunn block on the other end, Clark’s ensuing 3-point attempt rattled out, and Virginia went into the final media timeout trailing by seven, 47-40, with 3:35 to go.

Duke’s Jeremy Roach sandwiched a couple of tough buckets around another McKneely triple, giving the Devils a 9-point advantage as the clock went under two minutes. Reece Beekman came up with a steal and a score, and then Clark cut it to five, 52-47, with just over a minute to go. After Filipowski was able to connect on just one of his next three free-throw attempts, Duke held a two-possession lead, 53-47, when Beekman scored to trim it to four with 44 ticks showing.

From there, Roach sank four-straight free throws between a pair of misses from long range, and ultimately the Blue Devils just seemed to want it more.

Virginia shot just 33 percent from the field (16 for 48), 24 percent from 3-point range (4 for 17) and 76 percent (13 for 17) from the charity stripe. Duke won the rebounding battle, 33-30.

Beekman led the Cavaliers with 12 points, 4 assists and 4 steals. McKneely was the only other Wahoo in double figures with 10, while Armaan Franklin and Jayden Gardner each finished with 7 points.

Team Notes

  • UVA fell to 25-7 and 3-7 in ACC Tournament finals
  • UVA is 11-6 away from home, including a 5-1 mark on neutral courts
  • UVA is 3-3 vs. ranked opponents in 2022-23
  • UVA’s 49 points were its second fewest of the season (48 at Boston College)
  • UVA’s 17 first-half points marked a season low
  • UVA shot 6 of 22 (27.1%) from the field and 1 of 7 (14.3%) from 3-point range in the first half
  • UVA forced one shot clock violation and one five-second violation
  • UVA owned a 17-5 advantage in bench points
  • Duke won the rebound battle 33-30
  • UVA shot 4 of 17 (23.5%) overall from 3-point range

ACC Tournament Notes

  • The Cavaliers are 46-65 all-time in the ACC Tournament and 20-25 in Greensboro
  • UVA has posted an 8-5 mark as the No. 2 seed in tournament.
  • UVA has advanced to the ACC Tournament finals four times under head coach Tony Bennett (2014, 2016, 2018, 2023)
  • Bennett is 15-10 all-time in the ACC Tournament.

Series Notes

  • UVA is 1-1 vs. Duke this season and 4-16 against the Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament
  • UVA is 54-124 all-time vs. Duke, including a 6-24 neutral site mark
  • UVA and Duke met in the ACC Tournament for the first time since the top-seeded Cavaliers defeated the third-seeded Blue Devils 72-63 in the 2014 final.
  • UVA is 2-7 vs. Duke in Greensboro

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Reece Beekman (12), Isaac McKneely (10)
  • McKneely reached double figures for the seventh time
  • Beekman reached double figures for the 29th time
  • Beekman had a team-high four steals


Virginia will wait to hear their NCAA Tournament matchup some time after 6 p.m. on Selection Sunday. The Big Dance kicks off Tuesday and Wednesday with the “First Four” from Dayton, while the first round gets underway throughout the country beginning Thursday.