After losing in Blacksburg last month, the Virginia Cavaliers didn't let the Hokies think about an upset at JPJ. The Hoos stifled VT from the start, easily defeating their rivals 67-49. UVA won its 7th in a row to improve to 20-4 (9-3 ACC), while Tech dropped to 13-12 (5-7 ACC).
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||40.8||37.8
Here are three things we learned from the blowout in C-Ville.
1. UVA is back to dominating the interior, because Anthony Gill got some help.
When the Hoos were struggling early in ACC play, they badly failed miserably to protect the paint, allowing opponents to shoot unheard of two-point percentages against the Packline. And they got one dimensional on offense, depending on Anthony Gill to carry the load. He's been great, but can't do it alone.
Against Tech, Gill, Isaiah Wilkins, and Mike Tobey all scored in double digits. Tobey played only 10 minutes but made good use of it, scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting, including this massive "and-one" slam - it's nice when Tobey gets angry:
And Isaiah Wilkins has continued to emerge. He scored his career-high 14 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, including a couple of mid-range jumpers. The development of his game has been exciting, and he'll be scary good as a senior. He's the team's best passing big too; Wilkins had just one assist against VT, but had 5 in Pittsburgh this past weekend. Wilkins is also a staunch defender with the potential to "erase" mistakes like Atkins was able to last year.
2. Sharing is caring on offense
The Hoos made 24 total field goals, and 18 of them were assisted. Devon Hall had five assists, a career high; he's had two or more assists in each of the team's last eight games. Perrantes had four, and Thompson and Brogdon added three apiece.
It wasn't the team's best offensive output by any means, as UVA made just 2 of 10 threes and didn't press things on the offensive boards. But the ball moved as well as it has all year, and it seemed like the team could get the ball inside at will. Dunks were doled out like candy; there was Tobey's big one above, and Darius Thompson and Anthony Gill got in on the action too (click each for video).
3. UVA came ready to play, especially the resurgent defense.
After the team's loss in Blacksburg, Tony Bennett said Virginia didn't come ready to play. They sleepwalked at times, losing 16 turnovers and letting the Hokies run up and down the court for easy layups.
This time, the Hoos were focused from the opening tip. The offense took a little while to get going, but the ball movement was crisp and the defense stifling to start the game. It took the Hokies 9 minutes to surpass two points, and by then UVA was already building a cushion. Virginia turned it over on a so-so 17% of possessions, but didn't let VT capitalize (even if it meant forgoing some offensive rebounds).
The Packline defense is back. Our "Packline Pledge" fundraiser was looking iffy when, after the season opener against Morgan State, 19 consecutive teams scored over 50 points. But the past 4 ACC opponents have managed 47, 50, 49, and 49 points.