Winning With Offense
Virginia hit the road Wednesday night for their first away game of the ACC season. With a 83-56 win over Boston College, the Hoos moved to 14-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.
When holding a conference opponent to less than sixty points on their home floor, it would be easy to assume that the defense was the story of the game. That's especially true when the home standing team shoots 38.6% from the floor and 28.0% from three. Despite the gaudy numbers, it didn't feel like a sterling defensive effort from the Hoos. Coach Bennett even made light of the need to tighten things up on that side of the court prior to the Clemson game.
And it was easy to see why. Both Ky Bowman and Wynston Tabbs had some success with downhill drives into the lane. Tabbs got all the way to the rim to convert acrobatic layups a couple times. The Hoos often had no answer for BC center Nik Popovic either. The Eagles big man finished with 16 points on 7 for 12 from the field, 1 for 2 for three, and 1 for 2 from the foul line.
To the casual observer the defensive scheme looked pretty vanilla, at least as far as UVA's pack line goes. And given the ultimate result, that was certainly acceptable in large part because of the offensive performance submitted at Conte Forum by the Hoos.
The offense against the Eagles was superlative. The 83 points were the most in an ACC game by the Hoos since scoring 89 against Miami in a double overtime win in January 2015. It was also the first time topping 80 in ACC play since that game.
To reach that milestone, the Hoos used excellent spacing, timely passing, and great shooting (60.0% from the field, 42.1% from three).
Pacing four Hoos in double figures were Dre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite with each contributing 18. Ty Jerome pitched in with 13. And Kyle Guy contributed 10. And while Hunter, Jerome, and Guy all showed well scoring at all levels, the story of the game was Diakite's play.
The 18 points matched a career high for Mamadi. Offering a glimpse of peak Diakite, his 18 points all came within the paint. He was too quick and skilled on the night for anything BC had to offer. And his teammates worked the ball well often leaving Mamadi wide open at the rim for an easy dunk or layup.
Recent games against Marshall and Boston College show that this can be a dangerous team on offense, especially if the throttle is removed. For the first time in what seems like ages, UVA basketball can, and is willing, to beat you with their offense.
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