Offensive woes was the story of the night as Virginia defeated Rutgers 45 to 26 to win the third annual Barclays Center Classic. Justin Anderson and Anthony Gill were both named to the All-Tournament team, with Gill being the tournament MVP.
Offensively, the team was carried by the ever-athletic Anderson and the very strong foul-magnet Gill. Gill and Anderson led the team with 13 points each. The rest of the team combined for 19 points in tonight's low scoring affair, shooting a combined 8-38 from the field. London Perrantes ended up shooting 0-5, though he contributed three assists and no turnovers. Even Malcolm Brogdon struggled tonight, shooting 3-12 with five turnovers and only two assists.
"Our guys kept battling," Coach Tony Bennett said following the game. "I joked with them with about a minute left that we're going to have to repay the Barclays Center to repaint all the paint we chipped off the rims from the bricks we threw up."
"I've been in a lot of different programs and I know it's about the intangibles and things like that. Our guys didn't back down even though we were a little shook at halftime."
Part of that was just streaky offensive woes, but part of that was also that Rutgers played fairly sound defense, doing a good job of packing the paint and creating traffic, including five blocks, four of which came in the first half, and all of which came from Greg Lewis.
Virginia, of course, also upheld their end of the defensive bargain, holding Rutgers to just 25% (compared to Virginia's meager 32.7%) from the field, forcing Rutgers to make poor shot selections at just about every turn.
Despite Rutgers leading at the half, 19-18, the Hoos held Rutgers to just eight points in the second half.
When asked whether this defensive showdown is a "Virginia kind of win," Bennett replied, "Any win's a Virginia kind of win. You've got to win in different kind of ways."