The game was back and forth early as the ‘Hoos led 8-6 at the first media timeout behind four points from Jayden Gardner. Virginia was far more comfortable on the offensive end than two weeks prior as the ‘Hoos were able to match the Tigers bucket for bucket. Along with Gardner’s early scoring, Reece Beekman showed off his scoring ability once again against the Tigers with six early points.
That said, Clemson benefited from a balanced attack to stay step-for-step with the Wahoos with the score sitting at 18 apiece eight minutes into the contest. Additionally, two early fouls from Kadin Shedrick kept the center out of the rest of the first half which hurt the Wahoos’ paint defense.
The high-octane offensive affair continued throughout the rest of the half. Gardner continued to be dominant offensively as he had scored 13 of the teams 25 points by the eight minute mark in the first. Gardner’s and-one bucket at the 7:47 mark sparked a 7-0 run by Virginia to take a 30-23 lead.
Francisco Caffaro gave UVA a boost off the bench with 6 first half points including four straight that gave Virginia a 34-29 advantage.
Yet, after Caffaro’s basket at the 4:33 mark, the ‘Hoos went on a 3:24 scoring drought which allowed the Tigers to take the lead at the half 37-36. That was largely a result of Gardner picking his second foul up with 3:43 remaining and having to sit for the rest of the half as the Virginia offense struggled to generate good looks without him on the floor.
The second half started similar to how the first did with each team seemingly scoring at will. The score sat at 42-42 four minutes into the new half with the Wahoos’ two transfers countering scores from Clemson’s Hunter Tyson.
A three from Tyson and one from Al-Amir Dawes gave Clemson a 48-46 lead. But, a big triple from Kihei Clark put the ‘Hoos back on top 49-48 at the 12:06 mark. Another long ball from Kody Stattmann off a Gardner double gave Virginia a four-point lead.
Yet, as they had all game, the Tigers responded with a tough made jumper from Nick Honor and a layup from David Collins off a sweet pass from Naz Bohannon.
The two teams kept trading scores with a pair of midrange jumpers from Armaan Franklin eventually putting Virginia up by three, 62-59. Two made free throws from Kadin Shedrick gave the ‘Hoos a slim but relatively comfortable five-point lead before Kihei Clark stretched it out even further with a clutch catch-and-shoot three to make the score 67-59 with 3:48 remaining.
Two free throws from Jayden Gardner put UVA up 69-60 and — despite a big three from Honor to cut the lead to 6 after a Shedrick dunk — the ‘Hoos managed to put the game on ice with two more free throws from the ECU transfer and another pair from Kadin Shedrick as Clemson couldn’t manage to claw back into the game on offense.