CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The No. 25 Virginia men’s basketball team (0-1) fell 66-58 to Navy (1-0) in its 2021-22 season opener at John Paul Jones Arena Tuesday night.

In his Virginia debut, East Carolina graduate transfer Jayden Gardner (Wake Forest, N.C.) notched a double-double with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and tallied 10 rebounds. Kihei Clark (Woodland Hills, Calif.) also scored in double figures for the Cavaliers with 12 points. Defensively, Virginia was led by Reece Beekman (Baton Rouge, La.), who collected a game-high six steals and five rebounds, while contributing eight points (4-for-10 FG) and a game-high six assists on the other end of the floor.


After Navy drained the game’s first basket on a made three-pointer, the Cavaliers scored seven unanswered, which marked their largest run of the first half. The Midshipmen led 42-35 at the break in large part after shooting 8-for-10 from beyond the arc to start the game. Navy guard John Carter Jr., who finished Tuesday’s contest with 19 points, scored 16 of the Midshipmen’s first 32 points of the game. Gardner led the Cavaliers’ offensive effort in the opening half by scoring 12 of his 18 total points on 5-of-8 shooting. Both teams shot 54 percent from the field in the first half. Beekman accounted for four of the Cavaliers’ eight first-half steals.

The Cavaliers scored the first five points of the second half to cut the Navy lead to two, 42-40. After trailing for nearly 24 minutes of game time, Virginia evened the score 53-53 on a pair of made free throws by Armaan Franklin (Indianapolis, Ind.) with 10:46 to play. The score was tied once again, 55-55, at the 8:45 mark before the Cavaliers suffered a scoring drought that lasted for 8:30 at which time Navy scored nine unanswered points. Franklin drained a three with 15 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game, 64-58, but the Cavaliers ultimately ran out of time to mount a successful comeback.


On Reece Beekman:

“I think he’s improved. I played him and Kihei a lot of minutes, of course. He had to do the job defensively. I thought he had a big three. We challenged him at halftime and I thought he got better as it went on, but he’s a gifted player. He can create for his teammates, he can slash and get to the rim. When he gets a rhythm shot, he’s got to take it, and that’s the same with Kihei, his shot has improved. You’re used to seeing our group last year and it’s a little different. We’re trying to get on the glass and do different things. Reece is going to obviously be an important player for us this year, but he showed moments of some good basketball, he has very quick hands. He’s got an uncanny knack for tipping balls or making some plays that way.”

On attacking the dribble

“There was a level of patience at times and aggressiveness. Some turnovers kind of led to that, and I thought we did get away from that. We’re a work in progress that way. I think there was some good and some struggles. I thought we did that for the first part of the second half and then we lost our way a little bit. But Navy’s a good team, they put a lot of pressure on us with our defense and I think maybe they wore us down. It’s always a battle who’s going to outlast who and I think they wore us down and outlasted us in this one.”


  • UVA’s eight-game winning streak on opening night ended with the loss
  • The loss also ended the Cavaliers’ 24-game home-opening winning streak
  • The Cavaliers are 94-23 all-time in 117 season-opening games
  • Virginia’s eight-game winning streak in the series ended with the loss
  • UVA is 15-32 all-time against Navy, including a 7-2 mark in Charlottesville, in the series that dates back to 1909-10
  • Gardner recorded his first double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) in his UVA debut (31st career)
  • Reece Beekman had a career-high six steals
  • Armaan Franklin (7 points, 3 steals) and Taine Murray made their Virginia debuts
  • Kadin Shedrick recorded seven points, seven rebounds and career-best three steals in his first career start


Virginia hosts Radford (1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. Friday’s contest against the Highlanders will steam on ACCNX.  BUY TICKETS