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No. 18 Virginia red hot in 85-50 win over No. 12 Clemson

Well, that was a ton of fun.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 Virginia needed a big win for its resume, and the Cavaliers delivered with an 85-50 win over the No. 12 Clemson Tigers. It was the 11th straight win for Virginia against Clemson, and this one was never in doubt. The Cavaliers improved to 9-2 on the season and 5-0 in the ACC, winning their 13th straight ACC game dating back to last season. Clemson, which was coming off of a long COVID pause, fell to 9-2 (3-2 ACC).

Once again, five players scored in double-digits for the Hoos, led by Sam Hauser and Tomas Woldetensae with 14 points apiece. As David Teel pointed out, over Tony Bennett’s first 11 seasons at Virginia, five players had only hit double-digits in a game twice. It has now happened in three of the last four games as the Cavalier offense has come to life.

As a team, Virginia shot 61% from the field and a blistering 56% from deep. Trey Murphy (13 points) went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including a 3-for-3 mark from beyond the arc. Hauser went 4-for-5 from deep, and Woldetensae connected on 4-of-6. Kihei Clark and Jay Huff also hit double-digits with 12 points apiece.

Virginia turned it over just seven times, leading to six points for the Tigers. Clemson came into today’s games with their opponents turning it over nearly 16 times per game and scoring over 11 points from those miscues. Ball movement was crisp for the Cavaliers as they assisted 21 of their 34 made buckets (62%).

Defensively, the Hoos were electric. Clemson shot 40% from the field and 22% from three, led by PJ Hall’s eight points. Virginia held Aamir Simms to just two points on 1-for-9 shooting, and the Cavaliers turned nine turnovers into 16 points.

Hauser opened scoring with a three, and Simms connected with a tough turnaround to answer. From there, it was all Hoos for the next 9:15 as Virginia jumped out to an 18-2 lead. Clemson broke a 10:33 scoring drought with one made free throw, but Virginia responded with a dunk from Huff. The Tigers went 11:46 between field goals before PJ Hall got a shot to fall, but Woldetensae answered with his third three of the first half in as many attempts.

Everything looked easy for Virginia in the first half. Ball movement was crisp, defense was strong, and players were finishing at the rim:

Clemson hit double-digits with its first three of the game with 2:18 left in the first half, cutting Virginia’s lead to 34-12. An 8-0 run from Clemson to close the half sent the two teams to the break with the Hoos nearly doubling up the Tigers, 33-17.

Clark led Virginia with 10 points, followed by Woldetensae (nine points), and Huff (seven points). The Hoos shot 52% from the field and 38% from three over the first 20 minutes, and turned the ball over five times. Clemson only got two points off of the turnovers and had just one second-chance point off of two offensive rebounds.

The Tigers struggled from the field over the first half, shooting 29% from the field and connecting on 2-of-12 threes (17%). Hunter Tyson was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field to lead the Tigers with seven points.

Clemson opened the second half with a bucket, but Hauser opened the same way he did to start the game: a big three. The Virginia defense forced a shot clock violation on the next possession, then pushed the lead back to 20 with a Huff three. Back-to-back steals led to buckets for Beekman and Clark as the Cavaliers made it 43-19 as Brad Brownell took a timeout with 17:26 remaining.

Virginia poured in three more threes — two from Murphy and another from Hauser — and Beekman went strong to the hole as the Hoos built their lead to 54-26 at the under-16 timeout. Murphy’s third three pushed Virginia’s lead over 30 points, and Hauser hit his fourth three as the Cavalier offense continued to cruise.

Woldetensae hit Virginia’s ninth three in as many attempts in the second half, Beekman found Huff for a smooth alley-oop, Woldetensae connected on a silky jumper, and Beekman turned a steal into an easy dunk as the Hoos built a 76-39 advantage that forced another Clemson timeout with just over eight minutes to play.

The Virginia bench came in down the stretch, with first years Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Carson McCorkle getting in on the action.

Next up, Virginia is scheduled to host NC State on Wednesday. The game is scheduled for 7pm on the ACC Network.