In a tough road game with huge ACC implications, #3 Virginia's late run came up just short in a 64-61 defeat at the hands of #12 Virginia.
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||15.5||
1. Malcolm Brogdon is the obvious pick for ACC Player of the Year
Brogdon's teammates combined to shoot 32.5% from the field, making 13 of 40 attempts. Brogdon had one fewer field goal, making 8 of 11 twos and 4 of 7 threes, scoring 28 points in a 53 possession game. Though his only second-half miss came at an inopportune time, leaving a potential game-winning three just short, the game wouldn't be close if it weren't for Malcolm taking over.
Three of Brodgon's makes were on the same play, a sweet fadeaway jumper from the elbow that was automatic. And with his second consecutive 4-7 three-point shooting game, he's now at 40% from behind the arc on the year. The team has leaned more and more on him - he used 38% of the team's possessions tonight - and he's come through.
2. Virginia's frontcourt continued to slump
In the first meeting between the teams at JPJ, Virginia's large height advantage was a deciding factor. But tonight, UVA couldn't take advantage.
Anthony Gill continued to struggle, as he scored just 6 points on 3-9 shooting and whiffed often on defense (though he did finish with a career-high 4 blocks). It's not an effort problem; Gill plays hard. But the post moves that were automatic earlier this year aren't working and, when they do, his shots are bouncing out and he isn't getting calls. He's shooting 38% in February; after 28 consecutive games with at least one free-throw attempt, he just put up two blanks in a row. The Hoos REALLY need Anthony Gill to be the force inside that the team has grown accustomed to.
And Mike Tobey had the highest-profile miss, failing to convert a go-ahead layup and beginning the end-game foul parade. It was the third time he didn't go up quite strong enough to put the ball in the basket (one of them led to a foul call...and two missed free-throws).
UVA's shot chart on ESPN illustrates the interior struggles well (empty circles are misses).
Losing Isaiah Wilkins, who sustained a head injury late in the second half, hurt as well. Here's hoping Zay is doing alright and recovers quickly!
3. Don't be fooled by the score - Virginia lost this game on defense
64 points isn't a lot of points. But it IS a lot of points if the game is only 53 possessions. Miami's 1.21 PPP is the most Virginia has allowed outside of its win over Villanova.
In fairness to the Hoos, Miami is an outstanding offensive team and Virginia may have to just tip its hat to the Canes. UVA did a good job shutting down Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, who each shot 3-10 from the field. But UM shot 53% from behind the arc, and Davon Read went off, making 5 of his 6 long range attempts.
At the end of the day, road games over ultra-motivated top-15 teams are hard. And UVA's non-Brogdon players didn't play quite well enough to get it done this time.