Behind a stellar defensive effort and balanced offense, the Virginia Cavaliers beat William and Mary 67-52 at JPJ. The Hoos took the lead on their first possession and never trailed against a Tribe squad that has already won at NC State this year. The win is UVA's 6th consecutive, as the team improved to 7-1 on the season.
|Virginia||William and Mary|
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||29.3||28.3|
The Hoos came to play in their first game in their first game at John Paul Jones Arena since Thanksgiving. After a couple lethargic defensive performances, the team put up perhaps their best effort of the young season, giving up 0.82 points per possession. They did so while being slightly outshot from an eFG% standpoint, by dominating the turnovers battle.
William and Mary didn't just lose the ball 19 times to UVA's 6, but the Hoos forced 16 steals, and live-ball turnovers are more easily converted into points. Virginia scored 20 points off turnovers to W&M's 2, and had 12 fast break points while the tribe had none. UVA is now second in the nation in taking care of the ball, turning it over on just 11.8% of possessions.
Forcing turnovers led to easy buckets like this forceful and-one from Darius Thompson. That's gotta be one of the best dunks of the season to date:
With that kind of defensive performance, Virginia was easily able to make up for an off shooting night. UVA made just 2 of 11 three-point attempts, both from Brogdon in the game's opening two minutes; Thompson, Shayok, and Hall missed two apiece. Malcolm finished with 16 points on 6-12 shooting, but didn't score after the game's opening 7 minutes until under 3 remained. Anthony Gil picked up some of the slack, going was 5-10 from the field for 16 points and hauling in a team-high 7 rebounds.
UVA has one more game before the exam break, when the Hoos head to MSG to take on West Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic. The Mountaineers are the best team in the nation at forcing turnovers; something's gotta give. Tip-off is at 7 PM, and the game will air on ESPN.