The Virginia Cavaliers dominated Notre Dame from wire-to-wire to open ACC play with a 77-66 victory. UVA's 11th consecutive win caps a successful 4-game home-stand. And, unlike in the previous three wins, the Hoos started strong, taking a first-half double-digit lead they did not relinquish.
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||49.0||12.5|
After making their first four field-goal attempts of the game, the Irish made just two of their next thirteen, allowing Virginia to methodically put together a 17-4 run. The Hoos' 36-24 halftime lead was predicated on their dominance on the interior; Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill combined for 22 first-half points and ND had no answer.
Virginia continued to pull away in the second half, leading by as many as 19 points before a late Notre Dame run led to the 11 point final margin.
Malcolm Brogdon led the team with 24 points on 9-14 shooting. That included 7 for 9 two-point shooting, a nice recovery after going a bizarre 1 of 18 inside the arc in his previous three games. Gill was ultra-efficient once again, scoring 21 points on 7-10 shooting; he continues to make a serious case for ACC (and national) Player of the Year consideration. And the resurgent Mike Tobey had his second consecutive big game, finishing with 15 points, aided by his 4 offensive rebounds. It wasn't just the results that impressed, but the fact that he was active, aware, and and aggressive, fully using his height advantage.
While UVA rode their 63% two-point shooting to a 1.36 points per possession mark, Notre Dame managed 1.16 PPP, the second best offensive output against UVA this season. The Irish are ranked #5 in the nation in offensive efficiency on KenPom, and demonstrated why, sinking plenty of contested jumpers to keep the final margin respectable. UVA's points came far more easily than ND's. And that included Virginia's 24-7 margin in free-throw attempts (with four of ND's seven attempts coming in garbage time).
Darius Thompson had the dunk of the game (once again). Here it is:
The Irish have had a strong start to their membership in the ACC...but have yet to crack Virginia, as the Hoos are 4-0 in the series as conference foes (and have won 9 straight overall). Notre Dame coach Mike Brey summed it up:
Mike Brey: "They are really good. And today it was men against boys."— Damon Dillman (@DamonDillman) January 3, 2016
As noted by Whitey Reid, UVA is 7-0 in season openers under Tony Bennett.
The Hoos have a quick turnaround, as they head down to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech at 7 PM Monday night. The Hokies started off ACC play with a win as well, beating NC State in overtime earlier today.