The Virginia Cavaliers pulled out a huge non-conference win, heading across the county to pull out a 56-52 win in a nail-biter against California.
Besides improving to 10-1 on the season, Virginia also snapped Cal’s home-winning streak at 27 games, previously the 4th-longest in the nation, and added an emphatic road win to their NCAA Tournament resume. They were led by Kyle Guy’s 17 points on 6-10 shooting (2-4 from behind the arc), including baskets on three consecutive possessions down the stretch that turned a one-point deficit into a three-point lead. Playing in his home state of California, London Perrantes added 14 points on 6-13 shooting.
UVA prevailed in a tightly-contested, back-and-forth game that went into the break tied at 22. After allowing Cal to extend a 29-23 second-half lead, UVA used a 17-2 mini-Cavalanche to pull ahead 40-31 with 12 minutes to play. But the Golden Bears responded, scoring the next 10 points to take the lead and set up an exciting finish.
With the game tied 49-49 and 1:04 remaining, the Hoos took the lead for good when Perrantes’s missed three-point attempt was batted back by Isaiah Wilkins and rebounded by UVA. Seconds later, Wilkins converted on a three-point play, and Mamadi Diakite extended the lead to 5 with a deep jumper the next time down the court. Kyle Guy drilled two free-throws to ice the game.
Throughout the game, Virginia played strong defense against a talented Golden Bear squad. The team frustrated talented Cal star Ivan Rabb, who finished with 9 points and just one made field goal; as a team, California converted just 22% of its 3s and 46% of its 2s while turning the ball over 13 times. Virginia didn’t fare much better, converting just 40% of its two-point shot attempts against a Cal defense ranked #7 by Ken Pom - it didn’t help that Marial Shayok (0-6) and Isaiah Wilkins (1-7) were ice cold. But by taking care of the ball (only 7 TOs) and hitting key shots down the stretch, Virginia escaped with a win for the second year in a row in a thrilled against Cal.
Even Tony Bennett enjoyed the late-night win...until he rememebered to get serious again: