GREENSBORO, N.C. – Reece Beekman (Baton Rouge, La.) hit the game-winner at the buzzer to send 1-seed Virginia (18-6, 13-4 ACC) to the ACC Tournament semifinals with a 72-69 win over 8-seed Syracuse (16-9, 9-7 ACC) on Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Cavaliers had the ball with 29 seconds remaining and the game tied 69-69 when Kihei Clark (Woodland Hills, Calif.) kicked it out to a wide-open Beekman, who swished it in from three.
Sam Hauser (Stevens Point, Wis.) lead UVA with 21 points. Trey Murphy III (Durham, N.C.) finished with 15 points, two blocks and two steals. Jay Huff (Durham, N.C.) had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds and added four blocks. Clark had 10 points with six assists.
Virginia shot 45.5 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three. Syracuse as 42.1 percent overall and 36 percent beyond the arc. UVA led in rebounds (33-30), while the Orange had an edge in bench points (12-10) and points in the paint (22-18). Buddy Boeheim led Syracuse with 31 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia was down early as Syracuse opened the game with the first seven points. Virginia trailed by 11 with 6:03 to play in the first half. UVA closed out the half with a 10-2 run to cut the Syracuse lead to 39-36 at the break.
Murphy III and Hauser hit threes to open the second half and give UVA its first lead of the game. The teams traded the lead four times with seven ties in the second half. The Cavaliers took their largest lead of the game, 67-61, with 2:07 remaining. Syracuse’s started pressuring and had some baskets off of turnovers then foul shots by Boeheim tied it up before Beekman sank the game-winner.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO
Reece Beekman made the game-winning shot that advanced Virginia to the ACC Semifinals.
FROM HEAD COACH TONY BENNETT
“Well, maybe you need the last seconds of a game to get him to do it. But no, what I liked is he — okay, if you don’t want to take it — there’s a time when you take it, but at least try to attack off the dribble to create. And I thought one of the best plays in my mind of the game was in front of our bench. He attacked baseline and Sam sort of floated it behind him, and he pitched it to him and we got a three. I thought that was significant. I thought he got more aggressive, maybe not so much shooting but attacking a little more in the second half, and he was playing pretty good defense at times, which we had to have. But that zone is tough if you’re not making shots or you’re not real confident. You even saw Sam and Trey, they were having a hard time and they kept shooting. But when you’re not going to take a lot, it can mess with you. But I thought Kihei made the play to get it there. And at the end, we wanted a quick — I said, Kihei just attack the lane. So maybe a quick little ball screen where we tried a few sets and they get on it. But I thought it was terrific what he did, Kihei. And I can’t tell you, so happy for Reece. He’s been through so much, and just overjoyed for him, of course the team. But there’s some special meaning for him and his mom being here and all that.”
- Virginia (18-6) advances to the ACC semifinals for the sixth time in eight years
- UVA has 18 or more wins for the 10th straight season
- Hauser had his sixth 20-point game of 2020-21
- Huff matched a career high with 12 rebounds for his 10th career double-double
- Beekman had a team-high two steals
- Murphy III matched a season high with two blocked shots
- Clark chipped in a game-high six assists
Virginia will play the winner of 13-seed Miami and 4-seed Georgia Tech on Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m.