Virginia coach Pete Gillen didn't need to look at the history books to classify what top-ranked Duke did to his Cavaliers on Thursday night.
"They're a wrecking machine," Gillen said after the Blue Devils opened their bid for the Atlantic Coast Conference title with the largest margin of victory in the tournament in 31 years, a 104-67 demolition of Virginia.
William Avery had 18 points and four assists to lead Duke (30-1) to its ninth consecutive victory over the Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils shot 52 percent, outrebounded the Cavaliers 59-36 and held Virginia to 32-percent shooting. Duke quickly ended any doubts about the outcome by limiting the Cavaliers to 22-percent shooting on the way to a 38-point halftime lead.
"I'm really happy with our team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We just went on a run in the first half. We played outstanding."
Trajan Langdon, the Blue Devils' starting wing guard, limped to the locker room with 14:52 remaining and Duke up by 44. His injury was diagnosed as a strained left foot. X-rays were negative, and team officials said he would be listed as day-to-day.
"I'm not sure exactly how it happened," said Langdon, whose foot was wrapped in ice after the game. "I was feeling a little discomfort running up and down the floor after it, and with a game like this, I wanted to get it checked out and make sure it was OK."
| Elton Brand and the Blue Devils had their way with Virginia. >(AP)|
The Blue Devils, who just completed an unprecedented 16-0 run through the ACC in the regular season, advanced to Saturday's semifinals against the winner of Friday's quarterfinal between Wake Forest and North Carolina State.
"We can't tell what his status is," Krzyzewski said. "We're hoping he'll be ready for Saturday's game."
Duke, which had at least one starter on the floor until there was 3:06 left, also got 15 points apiece from Chris Carrawell and Elton Brand, 11 from Chris Burgess and 10 from Nate James.
Virginia (14-16) fell behind by as many as 46 against a team that came in riding a school-record 24-game winning streak and leading the nation in both scoring and scoring margin.
"This is the best team I can remember playing against as an assistant coach or a head coach, and this is my 24th year in college basketball," Gillen said. "We got discouraged. It happens all the time when you're playing a great team. We've got a team with six scholarship players going against a team like this. It's like pros vs. young men. What are you going to do?"
The Cavaliers, who lost to Duke by 46 points in both of their regular-season games, were led by Chris Williams' 16 points and 10 rebounds. Donald Hand added 15 points and Adam Hall had 12.
The direction of the game was apparent early, at least to Gillen, who called a 20-second timeout less than 90 seconds into the contest after Duke went up 5-0. It was of little use, however, as the Blue Devils needed less than three more minutes to push their lead to double digits.
"I think we came out real confident, but I think nervousness set in," Williams said. "We started missing a whole bunch of shots, and they were hitting all of theirs. It was a snowball effect."
It was the widest margin of victory in the 46-year-old event since North Carolina's 37-point victory over North Carolina State in the 1968 championship game.
The largest previous margin of victory in any ACC tournament game was Virginia's 43-point triumph over Duke in the 1983 quarterfinals. By halftime Thursday night, the Blue Devils had put themselves well within reach of that mark by building a 59-21 lead.
The Cavaliers didn't help themselves in the first half by missing at least 10 shots from 6 feet or less and going more than five minutes without a field goal.
Duke took its biggest lead at 82-36 on a steal and fast-break layup by Avery with 10:29 remaining.
By the time Virginia rallied, there appeared to be less than 5,000 of the original sellout crowd of 23,895 remaining at the Charlotte Coliseum.
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