The No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers cruised to an easy 73-49 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon, improving to 26-2 (14-2 ACC) on the season. Pitt falls to 12-17 (2-14 ACC).
Virginia got strong performances out of the “Big Three” as Kyle Guy (17 points, 5-for-7 3PT), De’Andre Hunter (13 points, five assists), and Ty Jerome (12 points, 4-for-5 shooting) all hit double-digits. The trio also played 24-29 minutes, getting rest in preparation for a quick turnaround. Kihei Clark had a strong outing with six points on 2-for-2 shooting (2-for-2 at the line) to go with four assists, three rebounds, and no turnovers.
The Hoos shot 59% from the field and 56% from three in the game. Virginia turned the ball over 10 times, several of which came in garbage time down the stretch.
Jared Wilson-Frame led the Panthers with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting and Au’diese Toney added 12 points. Pitt shot 39% from the field and 32% from three for the game, turning it over 15 times.
Wilson-Frame connected from three with six seconds left on the shot clock to give Pitt the first bucket of the game, and Virginia answered with a turnover on the other end. A bunny rimmed out for the Panthers on their second possession, corralled by Salt who re-entered the starting lineup. Jerome got his first floater to fall to get the Hoos on the board, and another defensive stop gave Virginia a chance to take the lead. Guy’s first attempt from three went off the iron, but Pitt couldn’t take advantage.
Both teams came up empty on their next couple possessions until Pitt took advantage of an offensive rebound to take a 5-2 lead with 16:27 to play in the first half. Another Jerome floater made it a one-point game yet again, and Hunter’s first bucket gave the Hoos a 6-5 lead.
One free throw from Pitt and a put-back from Diakite made it a two-point game, but Pitt was unable to tie it up or take the lead before Hunter connected from three. Kene Chukwuka drew a foul on Diakite, making both to cut Virginia’s lead to 11-8 with 12:14 to play. Sidy N’Dir closed the Panthers within one with a floater over Guy and Huff, but Virginia answered with a reverse layup from Huff. After a Pitt miss, Clark found Hunter in the middle of the zone for a turnaround jumper to push Virginia’s lead back to five.
Outstanding ball movement on the offense — initiated by a drive in the lane by Clark for a kick out to Hunter — led to a swing pass to Guy for a three and an 18-10 lead with just over 9:30 to play. Guy followed with another three to push Virginia’s lead to 11, and the defense forced turnovers on four straight possessions as the Hoos continued to build their lead.
A Jerome layup and one free throw from Hunter made it 27-10 to push Virginia’s run to 16-0 before N’Dir ended a six-plus minute scoring drought for the Panthers. Guy responded with his third three of the game, and Clark came up with a steal. He was fouled going to the basket, making both to give the Hoos a 32-15 advantage.
Wilson-Frame’s second three of the half cut Virginia’s advantage to 17, but Jerome answered with one of his own with three seconds left on the shot clock. The two teams traded free throws with Pitt making one and Hunter hitting two, but another three from Wilson cut the advantage to 37-19 with 35 seconds remaining in the half. Jerome drew a foul with six seconds left — making both — and Wilson-Frame’s attempt at the buzzer went wide to send Virginia into the half with a 39-19 lead.
The Hoos shot 62% from the field and 56% from three in the first half and assisted seven of its 13 made baskets. Hunter led Virginia with 12 first half points, followed by Jerome with 11, and Guy with nine. Virginia had just four first half turnovers.
Virginia’s defense was sturdy as usual, holding Pitt to 32% shooting and 30% beyond the arc. The Panthers turned it over 10 times in the first half (five steals for the Hoos) and only made six field goals. Wilson-Frame led the Panthers with nine points, going 3-for-7 beyond the arc.
The second half started with layup from Guy and two made free throws from Jerome as Virginia’s lead grew to 24 points. After another miss from Pitt, Jerome found Diakite for an easy dunk. Pitt’s first bucket of the second half came with 17:31 to play after a Virginia turnover led to an easy run out for Au’diese Toney. Diakite answered with two points from the free throw line as the Hoos continued to roll.
Chukwuka got free with a back cut for an easy score, but Clark’s fourth assist of the game found Guy for a three from the wing. Toney answered with a three of his own — the first Pitt player not named Wilson-Frame to make a three — to make it 50-26 with just over 15 minutes to play.
Another three from Pitt made it 53-31, but Clark and Toney traded baskets to make it a 22-point game. Guy connected for his fifth three of the game — this one from the corner — and Virginia got a stop defensively. Huff was fouled and made both, giving Virginia its biggest lead of the game at 27.
Terrell Brown’s dunk was answered with Clark’s second layup of the game, and he almost had a highlight reel assist on the next trip down the court but Huff couldn’t finish the dunk. Another easy bucket for Pitt cut Virginia’s lead to 23 until Hunter found Key in transition for an emphatic dunk to make it 64-39 with 8:18 to play.
Marco Anthony, who came in at the 9:19 mark of the second half, got his first bucket of the game as he drove the lane for a high-arcing layup. Anthony was called for three fouls on Pitt’s next offensive possession, resulting in the Panthers making one of two free throws at the line. A layup from Brown made it 66-42, but Anthony connected on a three late in the shot clock to put Virginia up 27 with 5:22 to play.
Pitt added some points at the free throw line, but the restless crowd came alive after reserve player Austin Katstra drilled a three with 1:40 to play.
Next up, Virginia travels to Syracuse for a Big Monday matchup with the Orange. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.