The No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers picked up a hard fought win over Vermont on Tuesday night, improving to 4-0 (1-0 ACC) on the season. Vermont used a strong second half performance to take a lead with just under five and a half minutes to go, but Virginia came through with big shots down the clutch.
In order to take a closer look at the game, let’s break it down By the Numbers.
19 - Mamadi Diakite matched a career-high with 19 points against Vermont, shooting 8-for-15 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Diakite worked hard in the off-season, using the input he got from the NBA workouts to his advantage. On the defensive end, he was able to disrupt Lamb (more on him later) and has just been all around solid. He’s averaging 15.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
15 - Second year point guard Kihei Clark scored a career high 15 points on Tuesday night on 5-for-7 (3-for-4 3PT) shooting. Clark is averaging 10 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game so far this season and is shooting 44% from the field and 40% from three. After scoring in double figures just twice last season (12 points against Oregon in the NCAA tournament and at Notre Dame), Clark has already hit double digits in three of Virginia’s four games. That’s a good start.
11 - Only 11 players have scored 30 points on a Tony Bennett led Virginia team, and Anthony Lamb became the 11th on Tuesday night. Lamb went off in the second half, hitting six of his seven threes over the final 20 minutes of the game. He finished with 30 points on 10-for-21 shooting (7-for-14 from three) and hit some shots from seemingly downtown Charlottesville.
29.7 - The percentage of two pointers made against Virginia this season isn’t technically breaking down this game by the numbers, but it’s worth including. So far this season, Virginia opponents have made just 30 buckets inside the arc on 101 attempts, a percentage of just 29.7%. In fact, the Hoos have forced significantly more turnovers (55) than 2PT field goals allowed (30) and have just eight blocks fewer (22) as a team.
That’s absurd. How absurd? Hoop Vision’s Jordan Sperber plotted 2PT% vs fouls committed (38 by Virginia this season) in a handy-dandy chart:
Virginia's start to the season defensively (#1 at guarding twos, #1 at not fouling) in a graph: pic.twitter.com/bBbLrcZVGt— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) November 20, 2019
Virginia is leaps and bounds better than the field so far this season, and not just in those two stats. The Cavaliers have the best scoring defense in the country (41.3 points allowed per game), the best block % in the country (21.8%), and have the No. 1 defense per KenPom.
10 - Virginia’s win pushed their current winning streak to 10 games, dating back to the NCAA tournament. For one more game, the National Championship game will sit in Virginia’s “last five” on ESPN, so take it in while you can.
Next up, the Hoos face UMass in Uncasville, CT at noon on Saturday as part of the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off.