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No. 3 Virginia has no trouble with the Fighting Irish in 82-55 win

Hunter has 19, Jerome flirts with a double-double, and Diakite has four blocks. Not too shabby.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers went on the road and handily defeated the Notre Dame Irish on Saturday afternoon, 82-55. Much like their last outing against Notre Dame, the Hoos got out to a quick lead and weathered a late push from the Irish to cruise to the easy victory. With the win, Virginia improves to 18-1 (6-1 ACC) and maintains a tie with Duke atop the conference standings.

De’Andre Hunter led the Hoos with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Ty Jerome came just shy of a triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists with no turnovers. Kyle Guy shot 6-for-8 from the field with 15 points to go with five rebounds. Kihei Clark (12 points) and Mamadi Diakite (10 points) also registered double-digit scoring, and Diakite added four blocks.

Virginia shot 52% from the field for the game and 44% from three, and turned the ball over only two times. Notre Dame struggled shooting, going 36% from the field and 28% from three. John Mooney led the Irish with 15 points, and DJ Harvey and TJ Gibbs each had nine.

Jerome found Diakite with a gorgeous pass for the first bucket of the game. Virginia got great looks near the rim on their next three possessions, but couldn’t get any to fall. Diakite slipped behind the defense for a wide open slam dunk and a 6-0 lead for the Hoos with 15:54 to play. A held ball extended Notre Dame’s next possession, but missed from three to give the ball right back to the Hoos. An offensive rebound from Diakite made it 8-0, and—after a miss from Mooney—Hunter connected with a long two-pointer to force at timeout from ND coach Mike Brey.

A floater from Jerome gave the Hoos a 12-0 lead before Mooney connected for Notre Dame’s first make of the game with 13:35 to play. The Irish closed within eight with a jumper from DJ Harvey, but Hunter answered with another long two of his own. Braxton Key extended Virginia’s lead to 16-4, but was called for a foul on Laszewski in the middle of making a three. He missed the ensuing free throw, keeping the Hoos’ lead at nine.

To atone for his mistake on the defensive end, Key took the ball straight to the hoop for a slam, and Hunter took a rebound all the way for a layup. Both teams got hot from beyond the arc the Kihei Clark connected for Virginia’s first three of the game, and Prentiss Hubb answered with one for Notre Dame. On the Hoos’ next time down the court, Guy hit his first three of the game, then Mooney got one of his own to rattle through. Guy sent the Hoos into the under-eight timeout with a 28-13 lead after a long two.

Diakite drew an offensive foul call against Laszewski coming out of the timeout, but Clark was unable to convert a jumper through contact late in the shot clock. Both teams came up empty on their next possessions before Mooney closed Virginia’s lead to 13 with 6:19 to play. Guy responded with a finish in the lane, and Dane Goodwin made it 30-17 with layup of his own.

Virginia extended their lead to 20 at 37-17 with 2:26 left in the first half before a couple threes from Goodwin and a bucket from Gibbs (with a make from Hunter mixed in there) brought the Irish back within 14.

Guy stopped the 8-2 mini-run with his third three of the half to put the Hoos up 42-25 with 40 seconds left. Hubb missed a three for Notre Dame, allowing Virginia to hold for the last possession of the half. Huff couldn’t connect with a three at the buzzer, sending the Cavaliers into the break with a 17-point lead.

The Hoos shot an impressive 19-for-34 (56%) from the field, including a 4-for-9 (44%) from three. Guy led with 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting (3-for-4 from three) and four rebounds. Hunter added 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists, and Jerome had four rebounds and four assists. As a team, the Hoos only turned the ball over once.

Defensively, Virginia held the Irish to 37% shooting (33% from three). Notre Dame started the game with seven straight empty possessions and didn’t get their first basket until the 13:35 mark of the half. The Irish had six turnovers, leading to seven points for the Hoos.

Virginia opened the second half with its second turnover of the game, and TJ Gibbs somehow finished a tough shot at the rim despite outstanding team (and one-on-one from guy) defense for 29 seconds. The big three of Guy, Jerome, and Hunter each got their own impressive buckets on consecutive possessions before Hubb got one past Diakite.

Two free throws from Harvey—the first made free throw for either team—cut Virginia’s lead to 17 at 48-31. Salt followed his own miss for a put-back through contact, but Mooney’s second three brought the Irish within 16 with just under 16 to play. Hunter’s jumper was negated by another three by Mooney, but Hunter got two points right back with another strong move to the bucket.

A missed three by Hunter led to a run out by Harvey, and he added to it on the next possession with a deep three to bring the Irish within 12 at 54-42 with 13:24 left in the game. Hunter made one-of-two at the free throw line, and solid man defense from Jerome (who had three fouls) influenced a miss from Goodwin late in the shotclock. Clark missed a three on the offensive end, but Diakite managed to tip out the rebound to keep the ball alive. Jerome cashed in with a three, pushing Virginia’s lead to 58-42 with just over 12 minutes left to play.

Hunter got good positioning and was able to rebound Jerome miss for a put-back bucket. Diakite’s third block of the day and Jerome’s running floater helped the Hoos go on an 8-0 run. Hubb got the bucket and the whistle to make it 62-44 before missing the and-one opportunity. On the other end, Diakite showed off his offensive skills to go with his block party, hitting a three from straightaway left.

The free throw line continued to be a struggle for the Hoos—both getting there and converting—against Notre Dame as Diakite made one-of-two after being fouled on a dunk attempt. A questionable foul call on Hunter robbed Diakite of his fifth block of the game and sent Gibbs to the free throw line where he made one to make it 66-45 with 7:27 to play.

Clark drew a foul and converted both, and Mooney found his way through the lane for a dunk. On Virginia’s next two possessions, Clark drove deep into the lane for layups, pushing the Hoos’ lead to 25 with just under six minutes left. The two teams traded blocks before Jerome finished a nifty shot at the rim.

Tony Bennett started putting in bench players with just under four minutes left in the game. Clark hit another three before back-to-back buckets from the Irish. A dunk from Huff and a three from Kody Stattmann capped off Virginia’s scoring, and Grant Kersey pulled in a defensive rebound to end the game.

Next up, Virginia heads to NC State on Tuesday night.