In a game where it seemed the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers were going to pick up their first ACC road loss of the season at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals, the Hoos pulled off a miracle to win 67-66 on a DeAndre Hunter banked in buzzer beater three-pointer in what can only be called an impossible series.
Virginia is now a perfect 9-0 on the road in conference - the first time it’s been done since teams started playing 18 conference games - and the Hoos improved to 27-2 and 16-1 in the ACC.
Ty Jerome led the Hoos with 21 points, and Kyle Guy and Devon Hall each chipped in 10. Hunter finished with seven points on a quiet night, but rang true on the biggest shot of the night.
Trailing 66-62, Darius Perry fouled Jerome on a three point attempt, sending him to the line. He made his first two and intentionally missed the third, but Mamadi Diakite was called for a lane violation. This gave the Cardinals the ball under the basket, up two, with .9 seconds left. Deng Adel moved on the baseline when he wasn’t allowed, turning the ball over. The Hoos got the ball to Hunter who got the shot up and off the backboard for the win.
The Cardinals are now 19-11 (9-8) and shot 41.3% from the field and 40% from three. Adel led Louisville with 18 points.
Louisville had several opportunities on their first offensive possession, ending with an air-balled attempt from Deng Adel. Wilkins put the Hoos on the board first with a nice finish under the basket following a nice pass from Devon Hall. Ray Spalding tied the game at three with a made layup and the foul called on Jack Salt, but Mamadi Diakite gave the Hoos a 6-3 lead with a fadeaway jumper and a free throw.
Diakite scored seven of Virginia’s first 10 points, scoring in a multitude of ways. Louisville took their first lead with 15:12 to play on a jumper by VJ King. A free throw by Adel and a layup by Adel courtesy of a blown defensive switch gave the Cardinals a 14-10 lead with just under 14 minutes to play in the first half.
Snider extended the Cards’ lead to 10 with back-to-back threes, capping off a 13-0 run for the home team. Wilkins ended Virginia’s scoring drought with a hook shot that found pay dirt to make it 20-12, but the Hoos were unable to take advantage of defensive stops as both DeAndre Hunter and Hall both left layups on the rim. Louisville was able to build an 11 point lead with 9:27 left in the first half, putting the pressure on the top team in the country.
Salt made one free throw, but Guy left Ryan McMahon too much space, and he made them pay with a deep three. Ty Jerome responded on an open look for Virginia’s first three pointer to cut the deficit back to 10 at the under eight timeout. Louisville’s shooting cooled off a bit in the latter part of the first half, but the Hoos missed a couple shots (but made a few free throws) to close it to 29-21 with 4:46 left in the half.
Hall connected on a three to close the Hoos within seven, but an Adel free throw pushed it back to eight. Kyle Guy connected on his first field goal of the game with just under 30 seconds left in the first half, making it a six-point halftime deficit at 32-26.
Louisville shot 45.8% from the field and 66.7% (4-for-6) from three in the first half, led by Snider with eight points. The Hoos went a paltry 31% from the field and 25% from three over the first 20 minutes, but the defense stepped up down the stretch. Virginia had little to be happy with in the first half, but eight offensive rebounds (to Louisville’s one) stood out, as did Diakite’s seven first half points.
Virginia started with the ball in the second half, and Jerome was called for his third foul on an offensive foul. The defense was able to come up with a stop, leading to a long possession for the Hoos that was capped with an old-fashioned three point play from Wilkins to make it a three point game. Ray Spalding put a basket over Salt to push the lead back to five, and another three from Snider made it eight points yet again.
An Adel runner over Hunter, who tweaked his ankle in practice, made it a 10 point game again. A Hall floater was answered with a King layup, and Wilkins went down hard on the play holding his left hand.
The Hoos hovered around a ten point deficit, unable to stop the Cards sharp shooting. Louisville matched their largest lead of the game at 46-33 after Adel’s second three pointer with 12:46 left in the game.
Jerome made it 46-36 with another three, Adel hit two free throws, and Diakite scored a bucket off the glass to keep it at 10. The two teams traded buckets again, and a floater by Guy cut the deficit to eight at 50-42 with 8:41 to play.
Virginia was able to close within four at 58-54 with three minutes left in the game on a old-fashioned three point play by Jerome, and a blow-by drive by Hall made it a two point game with 2:35 to play. Jerome drew a foul on McMahon working in the post, and tied the game at 58 with just over two minutes to go.
A turnover at mid-court led to a run out and score by the Cards, giving them a two point lead with :58 left. On Virginia’s ensuing possession, Hunter was called for an offensive foul as he drove late in the shot clock. McMahon made one of two from the line to give the Cardinals a three point lead, but Jerome drew the foul on a drive in the lane. He made one of two to make it 61-59 with :29 left.
McMahon went 1-for-2 from the line again, keeping Virginia within one possession. Guy took some contact down low, but couldn’t draw a foul and Spalding made two at the line to push the lead to five. Jerome hit a deep three, and Louisville hit two from the free throw line to make it a four point game before all the shenanigans started.
The Hoos close out the regular season Saturday with Notre Dame at 4pm at JPJ.