Williams and Defense Spark Victory over Tigers
Feb. 11, 2002
Following Sunday afternoon’s 85 to 71 win over Clemson, head coach Pete Gillen said, “This was a badly needed victory. This was our biggest win of the year because we were reeling from a tough stretch. They played us tough. It was a very physical game. Both teams fought hard and we were thrilled to come away with the victory.”
With 14:53 left in the game and the score tied at 50, Gillen called a 30 second timeout and installed a full court pressure defense. Subsequently, Virginia forced three Clemson turnovers during a 15-0 run in the game’s decisive stretch.
“We’ve got to get back to who we are: a trapping, aggressive team,” Gillen said. “We played well for three games and then, against N.C. State we didn’t play very well. (If Virginia had lost to Clemson tonight) it would have been a big, big, big hurdle to overcome.”
In addition to the pressure defense, another key element in the victory was the play of senior forward Chris Williams. Williams scored 15 of his18 points in the second half.
“Coach was emphasizing to us that we have to attack and I thought to myself just drive the ball, get to the hole and try to knock down some open shots,” Williams said.
“We are not going to be very good without Chris, Roger Mason Jr. said. He’s a very important part of the team, and when he plays well I think that we’re going to win.”
UVa hosts North Carolina Tuesday night at University Hall. The Cavs know they must win their remaining home games to secure a bid to the NCAA tournament.
“They’re going to give us all they want,” Gillen said. “They’re still Carolina. They still have McDonald’s All-Americans on the court. They have good players. We’re not good enough to look past any team on our schedule. They are going to give us everything we can handle.”