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Virginia remains perfect with 65-42 win over Clemson

The Hoos used a big second-half to hold off the scrappy Tigers.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the 16th time in as many attempts this season, Virginia won a basketball game.  The Hoos used a dominant second-half effort to finish off Clemson 65-42, behind hot-shooting efforts from Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson.  UVA improved to 16-0 and 4-0 in the ACC, tied for first with Syracuse.  Clemson fell to 9-7 (1-3 ACC).

GAME STATS: Virginia Clemson
Points Per Possession 1.23 .82
Effective FG% 60.0% 39.3%
Offensive Rebound % 18.5% 24.1%
Turnover % 7.5% 21.5%
FGA/FTA 20.0% 31.0%

The Tigers did exactly what they hoped to during the first half - they played tough, slowed the game down, and didn't allow the second-ranked Cavaliers to pull away.  Clemson actually out-shot and out-rebounded the Hoos before halftime, but trailed 25-19 mainly because of their 8 first-half turnovers.  Anderson steadied a Wahoo offense struggling to find early rhythm, drilling all three of his three-pointers on the night in the period.

The second half was a different story, as the Hoos' dormant offense came to life, while the defense continued to stymie the offensively-challenged Tigers squad.  UVA began the half on a 9-0 run that brought the JPJ crowd to life and seemed to demoralize Clemson.  At the same time, the Tigers suffered its second and third unique stretches of five or more minutes without a basket.  Virginia led by as many as 30 points with 4:40 to play before some late Clemson buckets against the Green Machine give the score a guise of respectability.  This was a loooooong slowwwwww #Cavalanche.

If the first half was the Justin Anderson show (he finished with 15 points on 5-10 shooting, 3-6 from behind the arc), the second belonged to...pretty much everyone.  Malcolm Brogdon led the way with a game-high 16 points on 6-9 shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc.  It's nice to see him getting his shooting game on track.  But his teammates seemed to want in on the deep-shooting too, as first-years BJ Stith and Isaiah Wilkins both drilled their first career three-pointers (and notched their first career ACC points).  Even Darion Atkins attempted an agonizingly close three-pointer as the clock ran out before halftime.

Anthony Gill finished with 8 points, all in the first half, and Darion Atkins had 6 and a team-high 8 rebounds. Evan Nolte had a rough night, as he badly missed his two three-point attempts, committed 3 fouls (one offensive) and another turnover, and struggled to keep his man in front of him on defense.  It was nice to have Wilkins off the bench to pick him up.

For the second consecutive game, UVA did lose the rebounding battle against a mediocre rebounding team.  Virginia didn't play poorly on the defensive glass this time, but rebounded just 18% of their own misses. This mainly hurt the team in the cold-shooting first half.  The team finished making 48% of their 3s and 52% of their 2s; with numbers like that, who needs offensive rebounds?  Still, Virginia has an OReb% of just 28% during ACC play. (Compare that to the national average of 31%).

Clemson, on the other hand, shot poorly, making 23% of their 3s and 41% of 2s, and had all kinds of trouble holding on to the ball, losing it on 22% of possessions.  Landry Nnoko, who was stumped by UVA's post double, committed 3, while Jason Blossomgame, who kept dribbling off his knee instead of the ground, lost 4.  Blossomgame finished with just 9 points on 7 shots.

That defensive effort means that many of our readers will be donating to the One Love Foundation, as part of our "Pack Line Pledge" drive. It's not too late to join in!

Virginia gets a few days off before heading north to play Boston College on Saturday.  Tony Bennett has yet to win in Chestnut Hill, but the Eagles are on a three-game losing streak to open ACC play.