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Boozer leads Duke to win over Virginia

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DURHAM, N.C. — The nation's top offense has the 3-point shooting of Jason Williams and the versatility of Mike Dunleavy.

Now, Duke's opponents have to come up with schemes to stop Carlos Boozer.

The junior center for the top-ranked Blue Devils said before the season he would turn pro early, but Boozer wasn't playing like a potential NBA lottery pick.

That has all changed the past three weeks.

Boozer had 25 points and nine rebounds for his sixth straight 20-point game as Duke (18-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rolled over No. 7 Virginia 94-81 in Sunday night's only game involving a ranked team.

"Carlos is just playing excellent basketball," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He's not committing the tired foul he was committing the first half of the season.

"He's maturing as a player, and he's getting disciplined when he's tired. That comes with experience."

During Duke's recent six-game winning streak, Boozer was 46-for-69 from the field (66.7 percent) while averaging 23 points.

The Cavaliers had no answers for him once their big men got in foul trouble as Boozer was 8-for-13 from the field and 9-for-12 from the line.

"Carlos is just a force down low," Williams said of his 6-foot-9, 280-pound teammate. "Teams are starting to worry about Carlos now, and that's setting up opportunities for us."

Williams led the way with 27 points as Duke shot 68 percent over the final 20 minutes to race past the Cavaliers.

The Blue Devils won their sixth straight — all by double digits — since losing by one point to Florida State on Jan. 6.

"We're getting better, but we're not there yet," Williams said. "We're still trying to become the team we know we can become in the long run. Our main goal is to be the team that wins it in March."

The defending national champions kept pace with Maryland atop the ACC standings nearing the halfway point of the league season, while the Cavaliers (14-3, 4-3) fell into a fourth-place tie with Wake Forest. North Carolina State is third at 5-2.

Roger Mason Jr. scored 15 points to lead Virginia, whose five-game winning streak was snapped.

"We were in tremendously deep foul trouble," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "We went zone once and they scored in about 1.2 seconds. So I said, 'Well, that's it for the zone.'"

The score was tied 42-42 at halftime, but Duke took control in the opening five minutes of the second half.

The Blue Devils went 7-of-9 from the field as Boozer had a fastbreak layup and a slam, while Dahntay Jones scored on two follow shots. A 3-pointer by Chris Duhon — his first points of the game — gave Duke its first double-digit lead, 59-48 with 15:13 left.

Virginia was within nine points three minutes later despite missing eight straight shots at one point. But Boozer had two dunks and a follow shot and Williams a fastbreak layup to run the score to 77-59 as the nation's top scoring team inched closer to yet another 20-win season under Krzyzewski.

"Over the course of the season I'm getting more comfortable playing physical without getting into foul trouble and adapting to the referees," Boozer said.

Boozer shrugged off his recent scoring success, saying it's easy to blend into an offense that has scored 90 or more points 11 times this season.

"I'm just feeding off my teammates and picking it up on defense. And that's just translating on the offensive end," Boozer said.