For the first time in the conference season, Virginia won back-to-back games, taking down the Syracuse Orange 73-65. UVA improved to 4-3 in ACC play behind steady performances from the team's "big 3" of London Perrantes, Anthony Gill, and Malcolm Brogdon. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday but postponed for snow, was still attended by an announced crowd of 13,305
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||47.7||27.8|
The first half featured some of UVA's crispest offense to date, as the Hoos moved the ball well against the zone, finishing with 1.32 PPP. However, Syracuse tightened their defense in the second half, closing down the passing lines that the offense was finding earlier on. After turning the ball over 3 just three times in the first half (and none in the last 9:30), UVA lost it on 5 of their first 7 possessions in the second, allowing the Orange to chip away at what was a 37-29 lead.
Syracuse tied it up at 47 with 8 minutes to play. Back-to-back threes by Maclolm Brogdon looked like they would give the Hoos control, but the Orange responded with a barrage of threes of their own - they made 5 in the game's final 4 minutes. Despite the scare, UVA made their free-throws down the stretch to escape with a victory.
Brogdon led the team with 21 points on 6-13 shooting, including 3-7 from behind the arc. But on a night when the team shot a torrid eFG% of 65.9%, he wasn't close to the most efficient. Anthony Gill scored 16 on 7-11 shooting, and fought for a game-high 8 rebounds. London Perrantes matched him with 16 of his own, shooting 5-9 overall and 4-8 on threes. He also had 7 assists - 72% of Virginia's field goal makes were assisted.
Notably, Devon Hall played a career-high 33 minutes and provided a steady hand against the Syracuse zone, with just 1 turnover. Isaiah Wilkins also looked good off the bench, making both of his shots from the field, grabbing 5 rebounds, and dishing 3 assists.
This was a game that Virginia probably should have locked away earlier, but Syracuse didn't give in, burying some contested threes. Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije combined to shoot 11-19 from behind the arc (though, luckily, Trevor Cooney hoisted 13 shots and made 3). But the team was also held back by their high turnover rate (against a Syracuse team that does force a lot of turnovers) and their more uncharacteristic issues on the boards (where Syracuse typically struggles) - UVA had only 4 offensive rebounds against the zone. But the team's third-best shooting performance of the year, and the best anyone's had against Syracuse, erased those.
In a week where nine of the top 12 teams fell, #13 UVA took care of business twice at home against solid opponents. Now, they'll have to do it on the road (*shudder*). UVA played at Wake Forest on Tuesday, then heads to Louisville Saturday.