Virginia managed to pull off a thrilling victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, 63-61. The ACC won the Challenge 9-4 with Clemson providing the clinching victory over Nebraska.
In the first half, it couldn’t have gone worse for the Hoos. They finished the first stanza down 36-24 after shooting just 28.6% from the field. As a team in the first half, UVA went 3-for-10 from behind the arc. Virginia had seven first-half turnovers, leading to 13 points for the Buckeyes. Devon Hall and Ty Jerome each had five points in the first half, and Isaiah Wilkins and Jarred Reuter each had three rebounds. Ohio State, on the other hand, shot 60% from the field (40% from three), and their 36 first half points were more than both Grambling State and St. Francis (NY) scored in the entire game.
Down low, the Hoos struggled mightily in the first half. Ohio State’s big men absolutely dominated, outscoring the home team 22 to four in the paint in the first 20 minutes. Jack Salt departed the game early with what appeared to be a high ankle sprain, but came back to the court shortly thereafter. The Buckeyes, ranked No. 22 according to KenPom.com (and receiving votes in the AP poll) was by far the biggest challenge both offensively and defensively for Virginia.
Virginia started out the second half on a 13-0 run, eventually taking the lead 39-38, but Ohio State battled back, reclaiming a 50-42 lead. The Hoos weren’t done, though. After Virginia tied it at 55, the teams traded baskets (or free throws as the case may be). London Perrantes had an incredible second half, scoring 15 of his 19 total points in the second stanza, including going 3-for-3 from three.
Marial Shayok struggled, including missing two free throws that could have iced the game for Virginia. He shot just 4-for-10 from the field in the game.
Perhaps most puzzling, and frustrating for UVa fans, were the absences of the young players. Guy, Diakite, and Jerome combined for 7 points. Guy contributed only two of those, coming from the charity stripe. After showing flashes of serious contributions in the previous games, the young guns were almost nowhere to be found.
The win pushes UVa to 7-0 on the season and extends the out of conference home winning streak to nearly three years. The Hoos get back on the court on Saturday at 2 PM when West Virginia comes to town.