The Virginia Cavaliers sure do enjoy playing at JPJ. The Hoos rebounded from a 69-62 loss at Florida State by taking care of a hot Clemson team by the same score. The win evens Virginia's record at 3-3 in ACC play (and extends it to 14-4 overall).
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)
After a closely-contested first half, the Hoos finally played a stretch of complete basketball, turning a 35-35 nailbiter into a 52-39 party. Or so we thought. The team still had a late scare, when Clemson suddenly cut UVA's lead to 2 points when they scored after a missed London Perrantes free-throw (he was an uncharacteristic 2-7 on the night).
Anthony Gill made two big baskets, putting back a Brogdon miss and then slamming one home on a fast break seconds later with just under three minutes to play. Clemson answered with two three-pointers and three Blossomgame free-throws, each time cutting the lead to three. But the Cavaliers made plays when they had to, the final time with an Isaiah Wilkins dunk to seal the game.
Malcolm Brogdon recovered from a brutal outing in Tallahassee by putting together an efficient 20-point performance on 7-11 shooting, including makes on both of his three-point attempts. Gill braved foul trouble to score 12 on 4-9 shooting, while bringing in 4 offensive rebounds.
Isaiah Wilkins had one of his better games, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting, three of which were deep two-point jumpers. He also played strong defense on Jaron Blossomgame in stretches, though Blossomgame was mostly unstoppable, as he finished with 23 points. Devon Hall scored 11, showing an increased aggressiveness that UVA fans have been hoping for. An active Mike Tobey added 6 points off the bench, but also pulled in six rebounds, had two blocks, and grabbed two steals.
A notable DNP for the second straight game was Marial Shayok, who looks like he has slipped out of Tony Bennett's rotation. That's despite Evan Nolte, Jarred Reuter, and Jack Salt (who started) all seeing between 5 and 10 minutes of playing time.
UVA played a generally more inspired game on both sides of the ball, though they still had the occasional lapse on defense, allowing Clemson to shoot a healthy eFG% of 53%. The offense clicked, with players unafraid to take (and make) open jumpers. And Virginia dominated the defensive boards, allowing Clemson just two offensive rebounds (both on air-balls), though the Tigers countered by bringing in 76% of their own misses. The factor keeping Clemson in the game was strangely shaky FT shooting; UVA was 15-22 from the line, mostly because of Perrantes's off-night.
The Hoos are rewarded with a second consecutive home game, when Syracuse will brave the snow to visit JPJ. The Orange are hot, coming off a road win against Duke (but, then again, who isn't?). Gametime is at noon on Saturday.