DeLaurier, Duke prepare to face Wahoos

Durham, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Zion Williamson wasn't on the floor last year when Virginia went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and beat Duke. Neither was RJ Barrett, or Cam Reddish. But Javin DeLaurier was.

A junior forward this season out of St. Anne's-Belfield in Charlottesville, DeLaurier played three minutes off the bench for the Blue Devils in that 65-63 loss last January. Of the seven players Duke used that day, he and now-sophomore guard Alex O'Connell are the only two still on the Blue Devils roster.

"It's kind of hard to bring back old feelings of losing to them when it's almost a whole new group," DeLaurier, said this week. "For us it's just a game that we have to win. They're one of the two last undefeated teams in the country, so hopefully on Saturday we'll be able to change that."

UVA is 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC going into Saturday's game at Cameron, ranked fourth in the country in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 1 in the coaches poll. The Blue Devils (14-2, 3-1) are at No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the coaches poll, but coming off a loss at home to Syracuse in overtime on Monday.

It will be just the fourth time in NCAA men's basketball history that the top teams in both polls have gone head-to-head.

"They're tremendously talented, and those guys that have been there have gotten more experience, gotten better," DeLaurier said. "Their perimeter -- Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and DeAndre Hunter -- all tremendously talented. And they're deep. And Coach Bennett has a pretty good system up there, so they're going to be a tough team to face."

DeLaurier is averaging 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15.5 minutes through Duke's first 16 games this season, with seven starts. He has made his last 19 consecutive field goals -- one shy of tying the ACC record.

DeLaurier has served as a veteran voice on a Duke team that's been led this season by the best recruiting class in the country, with the Blue Devils' top four scorers all first-year players. Barrett leads the ACC in scoring at 23.4 points per game. Williamson is second in the league in scoring (21.2 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.4 rpg). Reddish is the Blue Devils' other double-digit scorer, at 13.3 points per game.

Freshman point guard Tre Jones (8.1 ppg) isn't expected to play Saturday against the Cavaliers after injuring his right shoulder against Syracuse.

As a team, the Blue Devils rank third nationally in scoring, at 90.2 points per game. On Saturday, those freshmen will face UVA's pack line defense for the first time. The Wahoos are giving up an NCAA-low 51.7 points per game.

"We don't even have to tell them. They see it," DeLaurier said. "They see the film, same as we do. They know they're really good. For us, the guys who were here last year, we know how bad it felt. And for them, we just told them it's an ACC game that we desperately need to win."



 
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