If you thought last week was quiet...welcome to this week.
Only basketball played in the last seven days due to exam week, but both Virginia squads picked up wins.
-Women's Basketball took down Charleston Southern at JPJ this week, 85-65. The Hoos used some hot shooting from behind the arc, making 10 three pointers of the 24 they attempted in the game. Virginia never trailed against the Buccaneers and Mikayla Venson led all scorers with 24 points, and added seven rebounds. She was red-hot from downtown, making four of six threes attempted.
Five Cavaliers scored in double figures with Faith Randolph (17 points), Aliyah Huland El (12 pts), Lauren Moses (10 pts), and J'Kyra Brown (10 pts) all joined Venson in double-digit land. Virginia assisted 20 of 31 made baskets, with Randolph dishing out eight with three steals to go with it.
The Hoos are now 8-3 on the season and will face a big test at No.10 Ohio State tonight.
-No.8 Men's Basketball faced its biggest test of the season on Saturday as they welcomed No.12 Villanova to JPJ. The game was Virginia's first since the exam break, and the first since they handed then No.14 West Virginia a double-digit loss in New York.
Villanova, the fourth-ranked team on KenPom, came into Charlottesville with an 8-1 record. The Wildcats play a guard-heavy lineup, and their emphasis on shooting three pointers would certainly test the limits of the pack line.
In a game that had the feel of a Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight matchup, Virginia used a balanced attack, solid defense, and smart shot selection to defeat the Wildcats 86-75. The Hoos had four players in double digits with two players scoring over 20 points in the game. Virginia shot lights out at 56.5% from the field and converting 8-of-12 (66.7%) from beyond the arc. When they got to the line, they took advantage, making 26 of their 30 attempts from the charity stripe.
Anthony Gill led the team with 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting and made 6-of-7 from the line. He was a monster on the boards with seven, and added two steals with no turnovers. Villanova's head coach Jay Wright was impressed with Virginia's big man down low.
"Gill is just a beast. He's as efficient as anyone I've seen in a while in the post area." - Jay Wright
Beast and efficient are two terms that correctly describe AG. In the last two games, both ranked opponents, Gill has scored 42 points and grabbed 19 rebounds on 17-for-20 (85%) shooting. In the same span, he's made 8-of-11 free throws, grabbed three steals, and only turned the ball over twice. Seriously.
Much to Villanova's chagrin, AG wasn't the only one feeling it on Saturday. Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points of his own, knocking down two three pointers in the second half and shooting a perfect 12-for-12 from the line. His second trey was my personal favorite as he drained the shot clock down to five seconds before confidently pulling up and Steph Curry-ing it to give Virginia more breathing room. London Perrantes finished with 19 points behind 5-for-10 shooting (3-for-4 from three). He's hunting his shot (and making it), and Virginia is better for it.
Oh, and then there's Darius Thompson and Isaiah Wilkins. Thompson shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, making two dunks and two threes, but only played 22 minutes due to foul trouble (hi, Jamie Luckie!). Wilkins got his first start and played extremely well. He only had five points, but notched four rebounds, two blocks, two assists, and one steal with just one turnover in 30 minutes of playing time. He brought high energy to the court and made good decisions.
Due to their performance, Virginia retained the top spot on KenPom, and took over the top spot in offensive efficiency. I'll let you recover. Yes, boring UVA is the top offensive team in college basketball right now.
Shoutout to the crowd at JPJ on Saturday. It was loud and a great atmosphere for such a big game so close to the holidays. Well done.
Next up, Virginia hosts Cal (and former Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin) on Tuesday night at 9pm at JPJ. Come out and get loud!