Against an overmatched Boston College team, Virginia took care of business at home in a 61-47 win. Behind Malcolm Brogdon's 25 points and a newfound defensive tenacity, the Hoos won their 5th straight to improve to 7-3 in ACC play.
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||52.4||36.7|
Here are three takeaways:
1. Malcolm Brogdon took over.
After a few shaky games, Brogdon is hitting his stride. He exceeded 20 points for the fourth time in five games, with his 27 points coming on perfect 5-5 three-point shooting, 2-5 on 2s, and 8-8 from the free-throw line (where he has made 30 of his last 31 overall).
He's done it by being aggressive but also doing so at smart opportunities. Brogdon has struggled when he's driven into traffic and found himself in bad position, and when he's settled for deep twos. Tonight, he drove into contact, but with control, and he turned those 2s into 3s. If he keeps this level of play up, the team will be tough to beat.
2. Boston College is bad, and UVA should have won this game by more. The non-Brogdon offensive output was awful.
This isn't meant to be gratuitously rude to the young Eagles, but there was never a legitimate chance that the outcome of the game would be in doubt. As their own coach Jim Christian said himself, BC is basically an expansion team. They rely on Eli Carter to take an enormous amount of shots, and UVA easily limited him to 2-10 shooting from the field and 4 turnovers. The final score includes an 11-0 BC run to end the game, most of which occurred when the walk-ons were in and the Hoos were too busy celebrating Evan Nolte's made three-pointer to notice. Even still, UVA held BC to a meager 0.75 PPP.
But what's up with the Hoos putting up their second-worst offensive output of the season, finishing with 0.97 PPP on a night when the team made half of its 18 three-point attempts?! UVA was just 8-24 on 2s, as the team settled far too often for mid-range jumpers. Boston College deserves credit for really clamping down on the interior, especially shutting down Gill, who they seemed determined to foul rather than letting him score (1-4 from the field, 8-10 from the line). The Hoos managed only 3 offensive rebounds; the first, with 1:20 left in the first half, was a putback by Gill that also resulted in the team's first points in the paint.
The team also caught the turnover bug, finishing with 13 TOs (20.6% of possessions - 4th worst on the year) spread amongst 10 different players.
UVA did a good job of countering BC's focus on the interior by shooting and making their open 3s. And it's tough to remain focused in a blowout game against an overmatched opponent. Despite smothering defense, the rough offensive showing is only going to provide ammunition for those who say the Hoos play down to their competition.
3. NOLTE IS BACK!
Okay, I am being a little facetious...but who knows, right? Since hitting his second three of the year against GW, Nolte had missed 12 in a row, including two in the first half against BC. Then, this happened:
The crowd went wild. The bench went wild. Twitter went wild. But nobody was happier than Nolte:
February 4, 2016
Hopefully this exorcises whatever demons have been hanging with Nolte this year (and the past couple, really). He's found small ways to contribute to the team, but obviously his senior season hasn't gone how he's hoped. It's not too late for that to change.