With just over five minutes remaining in the second half, the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers found themselves deadlocked with the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils at 53-53 in hostile Cameron Indoor. Marvin Bagley had just tipped the ball in down the other end to tie the game after three offensive rebounds and tough defense from the Hoos, sending the small but vocal crowd into a frenzy.
Ty Jerome inbounded the ball from the baseline to redshirt first year DeAndre Hunter. Hunter drove past Grayson Allen, into the heart of the 2-3 zone Duke employed to slow the Hoos down in the second half. As Bagley slid over, Hunter made a nifty move to cut through him and Wendell Carter, finishing at the rim with a soft finger roll to give Virginia the 53-51 lead. The Hoos wouldn’t trail again in the game.
As Hunter came down, he landed funny on Carter’s foot, rolling his ankle. Immediately Hunter gripped his ankle in pain, causing the entire arena to fall silent as he was tended to by Virginia’s team trainer, Ethan Saliba. Virginia fans everywhere held their collective breaths as Hunter has been an impressive player for the Hoos this season, averaging 10.3 points per game in ACC play and providing a spark off the bench, both offensively and defensively.
After what felt like an eternity, Hunter was helped up and led off the court. He returned to the bench a couple minutes later, but would not re-enter the game. Virginia would go on to win 65-63, thanks to this ice cold three by Ty Jerome:
After the game, Coach Bennett addressed Hunter’s injury. “I hope it’s just a rolled ankle. I couldn’t tell.” Bennett said. “Just an ankle sprain according to our renowned trainer, Ethan Saliba.”
Hunter, who met with media after the game, was quick to allay some, if not all, of the fears the Wahoo faithful may have had. “It hurts a little bit, but I should be fine.” Hunter said.
Virginia (20-1, 9-0 ACC) welcomes Louisville to Charlottesville next in a huge matchup that could further solidify their reign at the top of the ACC standings as Louisville is the closest threat at 6-2. While Hunter would be a huge asset in that matchup, a Saturday trip Syracuse is looming on the horizon. He has proven repeatedly that he’s a problem for a zone, and Virginia would face a bit of an uphill battle with the Boeheim 2-3 zone without Hunter.
UPDATED: Coach Bennett spoke with the media on Monday and addressed Hunter’s status. “We’re going to see,” he said. “I believe we’ll hold him from practice today and kind of be day to day with it.”
Virginia plays Louisville on Wednesday in Charlottesville at 7pm.
Check out more from Bennett below: