The Virginia Cavaliers dropped their second consecutive game, as the Hoos forced overtime before succumbing to the Pittsburgh Panthers 88-76, the program’s first-ever ACC loss to Pitt.
Virginia vs. Pitt Stats
The game was a wild and crazy one from start to finish that featured dramatically more scoring than would be expected based on the history of grinders between the two teams. (Pittsburgh hadn’t scored more than 50 points against UVA since joining the ACC before tonight’s 88-point performance).
For the second straight game, UVA lost despite a dramatic three-pointer in the game’s final seconds. Last time, it was Kyle Guy who drilled a go-ahead three before FSU’s Dwayne Bacon answered. Tonight, Virginia trailed by three and and Pitt had possession of the ball with 38 seconds remaining. After forcing a miss, London Perrantes waltzed down the court and drilled a three to force OT. Watch it, it’s fun:
London Perrantes is a stone cold killer man. pic.twitter.com/dO7fvUzaOW— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) January 5, 2017
Wahoo fans’ celebrations were short-lived, as Pitt dominated overtime, drilling three shots from behind the arc before UVA could find the bottom of the net and taking a 79-70 lead they would easily hold on to.
The three-point barrage was a continuation of what the Panthers had been doing to the Hoos all game. Pitt finished 13-21 from three-point range, including a 6-7 performance from Jamel Artis (who was ironically 0-5 on 2s and 6-12 on FTs).
The end result was Virginia’s defense allowing Pitt to score 1.29 points per possession. That’s the highest UVA has allowed since the team’s 87-52 loss at Tennessee on 12/30/13, a game that many Wahoo fans may recall.
And it could have been far worse. UVA not only allowed Pitt to post a 65.7% eFG%, but they allowed them to grab 40% of their own misses (compared to Virginia’s 17%). Pitt also attempted 28 FTs to UVA’s 5. Fortunately for the Hoos, Pitt missed 11 free throws and committed turnovers on 21% of their possessions.
By forcing turnovers at a high clip and getting some key offensive lifts from Devon Hall and Marial Shayok, Virginia hung with Pitt all game, never trailing by more than 7 in regulation. The Hoos took a brief second half lead after Thompson and Shayok converted on layups with 6 minutes to play, but Pitt seemed to grab control after that until Perrantes’s late magic.
London finished the game with a more London-like stat-line than the past couple, scoring 16 points on 6-9 shooting and playing turnover-free basketball. Devon Hall stood out too, scoring a career-high 15 points on 6-13 shooting, grabbing a career-high 9 boards (2 offensive), and looking to be at a career-high level of comfort as well. Shayok added 14 points on 6-13 shooting, Darius Thompson scored 11, and Jarred Reuter had 10.
It’s pretty tough to leave this game with strong takeaways. It was a strange one. Clearly, the defensive effort was poor. While Pitt was clearly red-hot from behind the arc, UVA didn’t do itself any favors getting crushed on the boards, an issue which Coach Bennett stressed in his postgame. Virginia did go with a four-guard lineup around Isaiah Wilkins for much of the game, but were often just outhustled to the basketball. Another major issue is (and will continue to be) the team’s struggles getting to the FT line. Virginia doesn’t have the personnel for this to be a strength, but the Hoos now rank 345th in the nation in FT rate after combining for 10 free throw attempts (and 5 makes) in its last two games; there is clearly some room for improvement.
After a heartbreaking week of basketball, Virginia dropped its second game in a row and fell to 1-2 in the ACC, below .500 for the first time since....the team started 1-2 and then 2-3 last season. Remember that? It turned out alright. This year’s version is a different squad with some pronounced flaws, but plenty of potential and, until tonight, an elite defense. (Tony Bennett disagrees.) Virginia has a chance to bounce back when an improved (but still Wake Forest) Wake Forest team visits JPJ Sunday at 8 PM.