LOUISVILLE, Ky. – No. 21 Virginia (17-6, 13-4) secured the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Regular-Season Championship with a 68-58 win at Louisville (13-6, 8-5 ACC) on Saturday evening at the KFC Yum! Center.
Sam Hauser (Stevens Point, Wis.) led the game with a season-high 24 points and had eight rebounds. Trey Murphy III (Durham, N.C.) had 17 points and six rebounds, while Jay Huff (Durham, N.C.) finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Virginia shot 51.9 percent from the floor and led 32-22 in points in the paint. The Cavaliers held Louisville to 37 percent shooting and won the battle on the boards, 34-30. UVA also finished with eight blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Huff opened the game with a dunk and Virginia took an early 14-6 lead. The Cavaliers led by as many as 10 in the first half and never trailed. Louisville cut the lead to three several times, but Hauser and Reece Beekman (Baton Rouge, La.) scored to close out the half as UVA led 28-21 at the break.
Hauser scored 14 of UVA’s first 18 points in the second half. Louisville hung around and cut it to 51-47, with 10:27 remaining. Tomas Woldetensae (Bologna, Italy) was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws as UVA began to extend its lead again. The Cavaliers had their largest lead, 62-49, with 5:28 remaining and a Murphy III dunk with just over a minute to play secured the win.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO
Sam Hauser had a season-high 24 points, going 9-for-14 from the floor. Hauser hit his first four baskets of the second half and led the team with eight rebounds.
FROM TONY BENNETT
On if this regular-season title feels any different:
“It feels great. I told them before the game, I took this job at Virginia to hopefully have chances at title fights, and we talked about that. I can go back to the regular-season game against Syracuse that first year at John Paul Jones Arena where it was one of the most special atmospheres and games. Conference this year, yeah there’s different things, but we played the majority of our games on the road, all those things. To get it how we did it, I’m so grateful. It’s not lost on me. I’m sitting right now in the locker room where we had one of the biggest celebrations when we beat Purdue to go to the Final Four. Right across the hallway was our other one, we were throwing water and just so excited I said, “Congratulations to the 2021 ACC Regular-Season Champs.’ We talked about what a title fight meant and being able to live with the results win or lose, but lay it on the line and don’t yield, and to have those opportunities and special moments in this building and to see what some of the guys did and to get the contributions from the bench. Sam (Hauser), what he did was special. Trey (Murphy III) and just a bunch of guys I think made it taste sweeter. I’m so grateful, I really am because it’s been a unique year to say the least and we will remember it always. We’ll put a mask on the ACC trophy for sure.”
- Virginia (17-6, 13-4 ACC) clinched its 10th ACC regular-season title (5thunder Tony Bennett) and sixth No. 1 ACC Tournament seed
- UVA has 17 or more wins for the 10th straight year and 13 or more ACC wins for the fourth straight year
- Hauser matched a season high with two blocked shots and added a team-high eight rebounds
- Huff (4 blocks) passed Mamadi Diakite for second on UVA’s career blocked shots list with 158
- Justin McKoy (4 points) matched a season high with six rebounds
Virginia earned the No. 1 seed in the 2021 ACC Tournament and will play the winner of the 8/9 seed game on March 11 in Greensboro, N.C.