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No. 9 Virginia cruises to easy 60-48 win over North Carolina.

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Hoos keep a hold on the top spot in the ACC.

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Virginia v Gonzaga Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The No. 9 Virginia Cavaliers extended their win streak over North Carolina to seven games as the Hoos cruised to a 60-48 win on Saturday night. Virginia improved to 15-3 with the win and 11-1 in ACC play. Jay Huff finished with a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and added four blocks. Sam Hauser added 17 points on 4-for-6 shooting from three, and Trey Murphy chipped in 12 points and two steals.

Reece Beekman had an interesting stat line with just one point, but finished with eight rebounds, seven assists, one turnover, one steal, and one block.

Virginia shot 40% from the field, but went 12-for-19 (45%) from three as the Hoos used the drive and dish to perfection against the Heels. Defensively, Virginia was outstanding. The Cavaliers held UNC to 34% from the field and just 2-for-16 (13%) from three. No North Carolina players hit double digits, with Walker Kessler capping out at nine.

The Hoos only turned the ball over six times and gave up just six fast break points to a UNC squad that likes to run and gun.

It took nearly three minutes for either team to score as the two squads combined to start the game 0-for-8 before Love converted a turnover into a dunk for Carolina. Huff gave Virginia the 3-2 lead on its next possession, and Hauser doubled the Hoos’ score with a three from the wing two possessions later.

Five quick points from Murphy gave Virginia an 11-2 advantage as the defense forced bad shots, shot clock violations, and turnovers. Sharpe got a layup to go, but failed to convert at the line after the foul called on Beekman. Kihei Clark responded with a layup of his own, and another Huff bucket — this one a long two — pushed the lead to 11 as the teams broke for the under-12 timeout.

Virginia held North Carolina without a bucket yet again, and Huff and Woldetensae pushed the lead to 21-4 thanks to back-to-back threes. Brooks ended Carolina’s 3:03 scoring drought with the Heels third bucket of the game with 9:10 on the clock. The teams traded free throw makes to keep Virginia’s advantage at 15 before Bacot got his first points of the game by way of a layup.

Another turnover led to an easy runout for Carolina, cutting the lead to 22-11 with just over six minutes remaining in the half. Beekman couldn’t get a call despite a lot of contact in the lane, and the Heels continued to cut into the lead as they scored eight straight. Hauser ended the Carolina scoring run with a three, and the defense forced the Heels into their fourth turnover of the half. Virginia couldn’t capitalize, and RJ Davis got his own bad miss back for an easy floater in the lane to cut the Hoos’ lead to 25-17.

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Free throws by Huff and Beekman made it a nine-point game with a minute left in the half, and really good defense from Virginia gave the Hoos a chance to push the lead further. Hauser’s jumper didn’t fall, but Carolina couldn’t convert on the other end as the two teams headed into the break with Virginia leading 27-18.

Neither team shot very well from the field with Virginia hitting 38% and North Carolina 25%, but the Hoos went 6-for-12 from three to gain the advantage. The Tar Heels grabbed eight offensive rebounds in the first half, but only got four second chance points.

Huff led all players with nine points and six rebounds, going 3-for-6 from the field. The Cavaliers had a hot stretch early, but finished the half shooting 1-for-12 as North Carolina went on a 14-6 run. That run coincided with Murphy heading to the bench with his second foul.

Hauser opened the second half with a deep two, giving Virginia a double-digit lead once again. The Hoos couldn’t capitalize on a couple offensive rebounds, but Carolina missed on the other end with a quick possession. Brooks cut Virginia’s lead briefly to single digits before a three from Hauser and a block-turned-breakaway ended with a Murphy dunk and 34-20 lead.

Carolina’s first three of the game came with 16:25 left to play and cut Virginia’s lead to 11. After a flurry of free throws by both teams, the Hoos held a 36-26 lead with 14:30 remaining. Clark took it right at 7-1 freshman Walker Kessler, somehow getting the tricky shot to fall to give Virginia a 12-point advantage. Murphy pushed it to 14 with two free throws, but Kessler responded with an easy dunk.

Huff’s third three of the game gave Virginia a little more breathing room, but another nice shot from Kessler kept the Heels within reach with 12 minutes to play. Davis cut the lead to 11, and two empty possessions left the door open for North Carolina. Free throws kept the gap at 11, and Davis made it a nine-point game with 10:25 remaining.

Clark found a cutting Morsell for an easy dunk, but the latter was called for a foul on the other end on a Bacot lay-in. He couldn’t convert the free throw, keeping Virginia’s lead at 11 with 6:30 to play. A Hauser three coming off of a screen gave the Hoos a 51-37 advantage and kept the pressure on the visiting Heels. Love got a gorgeous fadeaway to go with Hauser’s hand in his face, and Virginia couldn’t answer on the other end.

UNC got a second look at a three off of an offensive rebound and Kerwin Walton made the most of it with a three that cut Virginia’s lead to single-digits yet again. Two free throws from Clark gave the Hoos an 11-point lead with 4:33 to play. Tough rebounding ended the Carolina scoring threat, and Murphy hit a trey on the other end as Virginia built a 56-42 advantage.

A careless turnover near mid-court by Clark gave Sharpe an easy bucket, but Huff got a to go off the glass through contact to keep the lead at 14. Another Huff bucket was answered by Kessler, but Virginia was able to burn out the clock with a comfortable lead.

Next up, Virginia has a quick turnaround for a road game at No. 17 Florida State. The game is scheduled for 7pm and will be broadcast on ESPN.