As ugly as their start was - standing around on offense, missing their first six shots, little ball movement - Virginia stayed in it early through their defense. A late 16-point Virginia lead slowly eroded, and Syracuse utilized a 25-4 run to win the Midwest regional final 68-62 and end Virginia's season.
UVa led 35-21 at the break and shot 12-25 from the field and 6-7 from three in the half, compared to 8-26 and 4-7, respectively, for Syracuse. The Orange also had an offensive efficiency of 66.0. Virginia's London Perrantes was easily the only scorer in double figures with 15 on 5-8 shooting, 5-7 from behind the arc, good enough for an effective field goal percentage of .875.
The opening stages of the second half featured a couple shooting droughts and foul trouble for the Hoos, with matters certainly not aided by Syracuse draining crucial shots of their own. Crucial inside play from Mike Tobey helped to stretch the lead after Syracuse cut it to 7, and a big-time three from Thompson with 9:47 left put the Cavaliers back up by 14.
Syracuse continued to claw back, and two quick threes with roughly seven minutes left allowed Syracuse to get within three. Syracuse took their first lead since early in the first with a Malachi Richardson layup. Skittish Virginia offense, and more buckets from Syracuse, paved the way for Virginia's season to end.
Thanks for following STL's coverage of Virginia basketball this season, and stay tuned as we wrap up the season for all of us.