Sometimes, it’s just not your day. Sometimes, it’s just not your day and you compound that by turning it over 16 times and shooting 16.7% from three on the road against a team that was fired up thanks to a heartbreaking Elite Eight loss last season. The latter was the case on Wednesday night as the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers got thoroughly beaten by Purdue, 69-40, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The loss gives Virginia its first loss of the season and ends a five-game win streak in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Purdue shot a blistering 52% from three, well over their season average, getting 39 of their points from beyond the arc. Sasha Stefanovic led the way for the Boilermakers with 17 points on five threes.
Mamadi Diakite scored 10 points for the Hoos, but struggled with ball control, turning it over a team-high four times. As an offense, things continued to look clunky as Virginia shot 37.2% from the field. Kihei Clark had two points on six shot attempts, and the Hoos couldn’t make up for the absence of Braxton Key on either end of the court.
This was Virginia’s first loss since March 15th when the Hoos fell to Florida State in the ACC tournament. It’s the Cavaliers’ first regular season loss by more than since losing at North Carolina on February 18, 2017.
The boos rained down from the Purdue faithful as soon as the opening whistle blew as the Boilermaker fans wanted to let the Hoos know they were still salty about that Elite Eight ending.
Huff opened the scoring with a three, but Stefanovic gave Purdue a 6-5 lead with two threes around a long two from Diakite. Two straight turnovers from the Cavaliers led to no offensive output and another three for Stefanovic, who came into the game averaging 6.7 points per game.
Eric Hunter Jr. pushed the lead to 11-7, and Aaron Wheeler got in on the three point action to double up the Hoos at 14-7. Stattmann followed his own rebound to cut the Boilermaker lead to five, but a Proctor bucket in the lane pushed it right back to seven.
Nothing would go offensively for Virginia, as missed shots and turnovers allowed Purdue to double up the Cavaliers again, this time at 18-9. Another missed three led to a triple for Purdue as things got out of hand and the Boilermakers built a 26-9 lead late in the first half.
A layup from Diakite broke a 9:09 scoring drought from the Cavaliers, and he added one free throw to make it 27-12 as the clocked clicked through three. A three from Diakite and a two-pointer from Morsell looked like it would give the Hoos a little momentum to end the half, but Haarms connected from beyond the arc to put Purdue up 32-17.
Virginia did just about everything badly in the first half, including shooting 13.3% from three and turning the ball over an inexcusable nine times. Diakite scored 10 of Virginia’s 17 first half points, with Huff adding three, and Morsell and Stattmann each having a bucket.
Purdue shot 46.2% (6-for-13) from three in the first half, well over their season average of 31%. They shot 50% from the field, taking advantage of Virginia’s mistakes and miscues on offense.
Morsell hit a tough two to open scoring in the second half, but Stefanovic connected on his fourth three of the game to push the lead to 16. Bodies went flying under both baskets with no call, the latter of which resulted in a Haarms put-back.
The Boilermakers would get up by 21 before Huff’s second three of the game cut it to 40-22 with 15:58 to play. Things hovered between an 18 and 21-point lead for Purdue before Morsell hit a three to make it 45-30 with 11:30 to play.
Virginia wouldn’t get any closer than 15 down the stretch, unable to capitalize on Purdue misses and continuing to turn the ball over. The Hoos won’t have any time to lick their wounds as they play host to No. 7 North Carolina on Sunday afternoon at 4pm.