UVa A Little Less Ugly Than Miami To Make It To Finale With Chance To Tie For First In Conference
It was 9-9 with under seven minutes left in the first half.
At one point, Jay Huff had scored all 17 of Virginia's points and led Miami by himself, 17-11, at the 5:36 mark. And then he never scored again.
Kihei Clark was guarding someone SHORTER than him and had three fouls early in the second half.
That little guy, Chris Lykes, was torching UVa until taking an elbow across the face from his own man, lacerating his eye and knocking him out for the rest of the game with 12:11 remaining.
I'm pretty sure Mamadi Diakite and Casey Morsell flew out of their shoes at different times.
Braxton Key did his usual thing, going 1 for 2 at the line late in a close game.
The 'Hoos missed a number of layups, specifically two in the waning minutes that could've put them up eight.
The shot selection was less than stellar, making UVa fans want to jab out their eyes.
As CBS Sports college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein might say, "Anarchy? No. Just Virginia basketball." ("A thing of beauty" would be hard for even a fan to admit on this night.)
It was a weird, ugly, tight game, but not that unusual at all, I suppose, from what the Cavaliers have experienced most of this season.
It all equaled a 46-44 win for No. 22 Virginia (22-7, 14-5), which survived a vacation to Miami (14-15, 6-13) when true freshman Harlond Beverly inexplicably fouled Clark at the midcourt stripe with eight seconds left. He may have thought the team had a foul to give -- it did not -- but we will attempt to check that. Clark calmly sunk both ends of the one-and-one, and then the Cavaliers withstood DJ Vasiljevic's runner to tie it at the buzzer.
Huff finished as the game's leading scorer with 17 on 7-of-16 shooting (3 for 7 on 3s to tie his career high), but as I mentioned, he didn't score any after the 5:36 mark of the first half. It was Mamadi Diakite that put the 'Hoos on his back in the second half, recording 10 points and five boards in the second 20 minutes to finish with 14 and 10 on 6-of-13 shooting and a block. Huff was one rebound short of a double-double -- he may want to check the film again to make sure -- but this time, he came up with a bagel in the blocks column. Not a single block. Kinda strange after getting 10 versus Duke. The last time Huff had zero blocks was in the Jan. 15 loss at Florida State.
Clark had seven points and four assists, but also four turnovers, as the 'Hoos recorded 13. He made one 3, which were the first points scored by someone that wasn't Huff. Key scored five points and added eight boards, taking and missing two terrible 3s in the second half. Kody Stattmann took, and made, one trey. Quietly, he's made 5 of his past 10 from deep over the past six games.
At times, it looked like the players' thoughts were on the beach and not the court.
The Wahoos went 0 for 6 from the field over the last 4:46 and shot 36.7 percent overall, 5 of 15 on 3s, and 5 of 6 at the line. Miami wasn't any better, making 35.3 percent of its field goals, 6 of 25 from beyond the arc, and 2 of 2 at the line.
UVa was lucky more Hurricanes 3s didn't drop. They don't shoot well from deep, but it was still a bad outing for them. Virginia also got lucky that Lykes went out with his injury. I had this feeling he was going to do something special late that was finally going to dent Virginia's amazing recent performances in tight, late-game situations, but he never got the chance. He still led the 'Canes with 16 points (2 of 7 on 3s), Keith Stone scored eight points, including two 3s (2 for 4), one of which tied it at 44 with 2:17 left, and Vasiljevic, Beverly, Rodney Miller had six each.
For Virginia, Tomas Woldetensae continued to struggle, going 0 for 2 from 3-point land. He's now 1 for his last 10 from deep the past three games. Obviously, he was a major part of Virginia's offensive resurgence, but in that three-contest span, UVa has scored 51.3 points per game. I really think he needs to get going again for the Cavaliers to make real noise in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
Not too long after Virginia-Miami went final, Florida State completed a double-digit rally to win at Notre Dame, making it all the more difficult for Virginia to share the ACC regular-season title. Now the Seminoles must lose to Boston College on Saturday for the 'Hoos to have a shot.
This was always going to be a big-time trap game. Duke at home one Saturday, Louisville at home the next, on senior day. In between, a 9 p.m. tip at the southernmost point in the ACC against a nondescript Miami team playing out the string. But for at least one more game, the Cavaliers were clutch again, lucky again, whatever you want to call it. But that's 10 wins in 11 games, seven consecutive, and the 'Hoos are 7-0 in their past seven games decided by three or fewer points.
It'll probably take a much better effort Saturday to knock off the Cardinals, and I bet we will see such an effort, which will give the guys a chance. For now, let's just get the hell out of Miami grateful for another W in an ACC season where they are anything but easy to collect.
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Articles on This Game
- Season 2 Episode 18 Hoocast: Happy Sendoff by , posted on March 10, 2020, in Our Blog. Has tags Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key, Louisville (Basketball(M), March 7, 2020), @ Miami FL (Basketball(M), March 4, 2020)
- Virginia + / - Miami by , posted on March 4, 2020, in The Team. Has tags @ Miami FL (Basketball(M), March 4, 2020)