For the second straight game the No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers looked out of sorts with ball control and shooting, but the Hoos pulled out a 56-46 win over the Miami Hurricanes. With the win, Virginia moves to 20-1 (8-1 ACC) while Miami falls to 9-12 (1-8 ACC).
Virginia turned the ball over 14 times—its second straight game with double-digit turnovers—but Miami only turned it into four points. The defense was strong all game, holding the Hurricanes to just 34% shooting and 19% from three. Miami got 16 points from Chris Lykes, with Zach Johnson and Sam Waardenburg adding 10 apiece.
De’Andre Hunter led the Cavaliers with 14 points, with Mamadi Diakite adding 11 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. Kyle Guy had 10 points, but it took him 15 shots to get there. Jack Salt finished just shy of his career high in rebounds, pulling in nine to go with seven points.
Kihei Clark, who started, finished with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting with five rebounds, six assists, and six turnovers. Clark got the start for Virginia thanks in part to a lingering back issue for Ty Jerome and in part due to Miami starting the 5’7 Lykes.
The Hoos shot 42% from the field and 35% from three. One of the issues against NC State—giving up offensive rebounds—was much better in today’s outing as Virginia limited the Hurricanes to four second chance points.
Diakite got the scoring started, as become custom for the Cavaliers, off of an assist from Clark. Virginia was unable to score on their next two possessions—a Clark turnover and a miss from Diakite—and Lykes made one-of-three at the line to make it 2-1 it after picking up a foul shooting three. Hunter drove the lane for an easy lay-in, blowing by Vasiljevic for the score.
Zach Johnson tied things up at four following Miami’s first make from three, but Hunter tipped in a miss from Guy to give the Hoos the lead once more. Braxton Key found Hunter for a corner three to make it 9-4 Hoos, and Sam Waardenburg got a contested layup to go to close back within three. After a miss from three from Jay Huff, Waardenburg hit a three for Miami to tie the game once more.
A foul on Miami gave Virginia another possession, but a low pass to Salt resulted in a turnover. Miami took their first lead of the game at 11-9 with just over 11 minutes left in the first half on a Waardenburg put-back. Clark evened things out with a floater in the lane late in the shot clock just over a minute later, and a three from Guy gave Virginia the advantage back.
Sloppy play and bad shot selection kept the Hoos from extending their lead, but luckily Miami was just as cold in the same stretch. The Hurricanes turned it over on it’s next possession as Clark came up with the steal, and Salt tried to find Diakite for a big-to-big alley-oop. Diakite didn’t flush the finish, but he was fouled on the attempt and made both free throws to put Virginia up five.
Virginia pushed the lead to 18-11 with 5:48 left in the first half on a dunk from Salt off of a bounce-pass assist from Clark. Key was called for a foul on a block attempt, and Waardenburg made one-of-two at the line. Guy sliced and diced through the lane for a tough finish through contact to give the Hoos their biggest lead at eight.
Lykes got his first field goal of the game with 4:44 left in the half on a gorgeous stop and finish to make it 20-14. Diakite couldn’t connect on the other end, but no damage done as Johnson missed a shot for the Canes. Guy fouled Lykes, sending him to the free throw line where he made two to pull Miami back within four.
Miami went to a zone, and Clark promptly hit a three from the corner off of a feed from the hight post from Huff. On the next possession, Hunter jumped a pass for the steal and an easy layup on the other hand. Johnson got past Guy for an easy layup, and Hunter turned the ball over on Virginia’s next possession.
Key came up with a block on a shot attempt from Lykes, and Hunter went to the free throw line where he hit one of two to put the Hoos up 26-18 with just under a minute left in the half. Hunter made it back-to-back Virginia possessions with blocks as he slammed one off the backboard to Clark in transition. Clark made the perfect decision and pass to a trailing Key for an easy bucket.
Lykes was able to connect from three with six seconds left to send the two squads into the half with Virginia leading 28-21.
Virginia shot just 39% in the first half (33% from three), and turned the ball over six times. The Hoos dominated second chance points (9-0), points in the paint (16-4), and offensive rebounds (7-1). Hunter led the Hoos with 10 points, followed by Guy and Clark with five apiece. Salt pulled in six rebounds and as a team, the Cavaliers had two blocks and three steals.
Miami struggled shooting, going just 7-for-25 (28%) from the field and 25% from three. Leading scorer Lykes had eight first half points, and Waardenburg added eight of his own.
The Hoos started the second half off with a miss from Guy, and Lykes closed the gap to four with his second three pointer of the game. Clark answered with a three of his own to make it 31-24 before Ebuka Izundu got a layup keep the pressure on Virginia.
Diakite climbed a ladder to block an Izundu shot on the other end, but Clark couldn’t get a third three to fall. Izundu went to the line, missing both. Salt gave the Hoos an eight point advantage with the old fashioned three-point play, Anthony Lawerence III made two free throws, and Key buried a three of his own to make it 37-28 with 15:53 to play. A layup by Lykes made it a seven-point game, and Clark and Salt miscommunicated on the offensive end, leading to a turnover (No. 8 of the game).
Hunter pushed Virginia’s lead to nine with a elbow jumper, and Guy made it double digits with a beautiful cut and finish at the rim (after Diakite drew an offensive foul on the other end). Waardenburg corralled a loose ball at his feet and was able to finish to make it 41-32 with 13:50 left in the game.
Johnson made it seven points after Waardenburg played tough defense on Hunter in transition. After three straight turnovers on offense, Hunter hit another elbow jumper to put the Hoos up 43-34 with 10:22 to play. Miami was unable to connect on a three point attempt after a solid offensive possession. Virginia got a couple looks at the basket thanks to a foul and dead ball rebound, and Clark made the most of it as he found Salt for an easy dunk to make it 45-34.
Miami responded with a lay-in, and got a put-back off a Lykes miss to pull it with seven again with 8:42 to play. Johnson went to the line and made one-of-two, but Guy hit a three out of the next timeout (after missing the first and Key rebounding the ball) to put Virginia up 48-39. Diakite was called for an offensive foul on a rebounding attempt, but he got his revenge on the other end with a monster block.
Key found Diakite for the alley-oop and 11-point lead, then Diakite registered his second straight block to give the Hoos the ball back again. Izundu was called for a foul on a missed dunk by Diakite, and the third year big man made one-of-two to give Virginia a 51-39 advantage with 4:58 to play.
Izundu made it a 10-point lead after a finish off of a nifty behind-the-back pass from Lykes, but Diakite answered with the fadeaway jumper in the lane over his defender. Virginia wasn’t able to extend the lead further on a missed three from Key, but he came up with the block and steal on the defensive end to give the Hoos more time to run the clock. Clark’s pass to Diakite was jumped, and Diakite fouled Lykes on the other end to send him to the line.
After making one-of-two at the line, Miami put on a full-court press. Key found Diakite for the long pass and the 55-42 lead with 2:37 to play. Lykes got a put-back to make it an 11-point game, but Clark pushed it back to 12 with one made free throw. Waardenburg missed a three with just over a minute remaining, and Virginia burned clock to secure the win.
Virginia now has a week to rest and recuperate before the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils come to town on Saturday, February 9th. ESPN’s College GameDay will be in attendance, and tip off time is 6pm.