Virginia had some sloppy moments near the end of the first half, but the No. 5 Cavaliers easily dispatched William and Mary, 72-40. With the win, Virginia improves to 11-0 and is one of six remaining undefeated teams in the country.
After two quiet games, De’Andre Hunter led Virginia with 18 points on 4-for-8 shooting and added four rebounds and three assists. Kyle Guy finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and had a hot hand as he went 5-for-8 from the field (2-for-5 from three). The big men—Jack Salt and Mamadi Diakite—combined to go 6-for-10 from the field for 12 points and eight rebounds.
William and Mary’s Nathan Knight was incredible, finishing with 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting before fouling out with just under six minutes left in the game. The Tribe shot 33% from the field and 10% from three (2-for-20) in the game and turned the ball over five times in the second half as the Hoos built a lead.
Virginia struggled to end the first half with turnovers and poor shot selection, but took care of the ball with only one second half turnover. For the game, the Hoos shot 48% from the field and 38% from three.
For the second straight game, Diakite joined Hunter, Jerome, Guy, and Salt in the starting lineup. Clark, who had surgery on his fractured wrist less than two weeks ago, came off the bench and contributed 27 minutes, two points, and an assist.
The Tribe opened scoring thanks to a hook off the glass over Salt. Diakite emphatically rejected W&M’s second attempt, leading to a Salt lefty hook shot to tie the game, assisted by Jerome. W&M converted a tough, high-arcing shot to re-take the lead, but it was short lived as Guy canned his first three of the day to put the Hoos up 5-4.
Two free throws from Matt Milon put the Tribe up by one again until Hunter connected on a corner jumper. Back-to-back makes by Jerome and a leaner from Hunter put the Hoos up 13-6 as William and Mary—in the midst of a three minute scoring drought—called a timeout with 14:13 left in the first half.
W&M would score off of an offensive rebound out of the timeout to close the gap to five. With the shot clock winding through seven secons on Virginia’s next possession, Guy threw up a desperation three that sailed short of the rim. Luckily, Salt was in the perfect position to catch it and put up a nifty shot at the rim for the score. Braxton Key deposited an offensive rebound, and Diakite perfectly kissed a jumper off the high glass to give Virginia an 11 point advantage with just under 11 minutes to play.
Jerome pushed Virginia’s lead to 22-8 with a three pointer at the buzzer after a stagnant offensive set, and a turnover by Jerome was negated by Key getting in position and drawing a charge on the fast break. Jay Huff entered the game and promptly buried a three pointer from the top of the key. Hunter hit a leaning layup between two layups from Knight, and two more made free throws from Knight trimmed the deficit to 13 with 4:34 left in the half.
With around four minutes left, Hunter was called for an offensive foul as the W&M player appeared to have taken an elbow to the chin as Hunter cleared space. After reviewing the play to see if Hunter would be assessed a flagrant foul, the referees saw no contact was made and the foul was waived off and Virginia kept possession.
A Diakite dunk put Virginia up by 15, and Guy pushed it to 17 with two free throws after Justin Pierce was tagged with a technical for hitting Guy in the face on a fast break. Knight, who did all the work for the Tribe, converted an old fashioned three-point play to make it 31-17 with 2:23 to play.
A turnover—Virginia’s sixth of the half—led to W&M’s first three pointer of the game and kept the Tribe close. Knight took advantage of a mismatch to get back to the line, connecting on one-of-two to make it 31-21.
Braxton Key drew a foul on a three-point attempt and buried all three free throws with 24 seconds left in the half. L.J. Owens threw up a prayer at the buzzer that went in, and the refs whistled Guy for a foul on the shot. Owens missed the free throw, sending Virginia into the half with an 11 point lead at 34-23.
Virginia shot 52% from the field and 50% from three (3-for-6) for the half, but went without a field goal for the last 3:37 of the half as W&M ended the half on a 9-3 run. William and Mary shot just 33% from the field and 10% (1-for-10) from three in the first half, but they only turned the ball over twice and were called for just five fouls.
The Tribe took advantage of Virginia’s turnovers, scoring seven points off of the Hoos’ six TOs. Knight scored 12 of the Tribe’s 23 points, and W&M got to the line with some regularity, going 6-for-10 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes. Virginia did work on the boards in the first half, out-rebounding the Tribe 21-10.
Knight opened the scoring for W&M in the second half with a pure jumper that pulled the Tribe back within single digits. Hunter was unable to answer, and Pierce hit another three to make it a six point game. Diakite finished a baseline jumper to end Virginia’s field goal drought, and a much-needed three by Guy put the Hoos back up by 11.
On Virginia’s next offensive possession, Jerome lost handle of the ball, but Diakite corralled it in-bounds and found Salt for a monster dunk to give Virginia a 41-28 lead with 17:13 left in the game. Knight took advantage of a broken play and scored his sixth bucket of the game as Salt was called for his third foul of the game. He was unable to hit the and-one free throw, allowing Virginia to build their lead back to 14 after a three point make from Hunter.
Jerome drew a foul driving the lane and made one-of-two free throws. Two possessions later, Jerome picked up a loose ball and found a cutting Guy on the break for a layup and a return to a 17-point lead with 13:10 to play. Guy somehow pulled in an offensive rebound among the trees and deposited the put-back.
Diakite played outstanding one-on-one defense on Knight to force a bad shot, and Guy hit a running layup on the other end. Key hit a pull up jumper between two more contested layups for Knight before Guy gave Virginia a 55-34 advantage after two made free throws with eight minutes to play.
Knight—I know, shocker—connected on another bucket in the paint and Chase Audige followed a missed three with an emphatic put-back dunk to close within 19 of the Hoos. Hunter made both free throws after he was fouled by Knight on a drive to the basket. On the ensuing offensive possession for Virginia, Hunter drove the lane again and Knight fouled out on the play with 5:57 left in the game.
Luke Loewe finished an up-and-under layup to make it 66-40 with four minutes remaining. Coach Bennett cleared the bench with 3;34 left in the game as Jayden Nixon, Kody Stattmann, Marco Anthony, Austin Katstra, and Huff took the court. One possession later, Francisco Baddochi made his Virginia debut after redshirting last season and missing the beginning of the season due to undisclosed medical issues.
Next up, Virginia closes out the non-conference slate with a game against Marshall on December 31.