CORAL GABLES, Fla. — In the first top-25 matchup since 2016 between No. 6 Virginia (8-2, 1-1 ACC) and No. 22 Miami (12-1, 3-0 ACC), it was the Hurricanes who prevailed, 66-64, at the Watsco Center Tuesday night (Dec. 20). After trailing by as many as 15 points early in the second half, the Cavaliers outscored Miami 38-30 in the last 20 minutes of play, but ultimately the Hurricanes’ early double-digit lead was too much for UVA to overcome.
With the win, Miami snapped a six-game skid in the season series. Fourteen of the last 16 meetings between the two teams have now been decided by 10 points or less.
Virginia was led by Ben Vander Plas, who tallied a season-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range. Kihei Clark (13 points, 8-9 FT) and Reece Beekman (10 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) also scored in double figures for the Hoos.
Miami’s Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 24 points – a dozen in each half – to lead the Hurricanes to their third consecutive ACC win. Wong’s scoring performance also marked his fourth straight game with at least 20 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Despite eight Cavalier scorers in the first half, Miami led 36-26 at the intermission. The Hurricanes knocked down five of their 12 attempts from deep in the first 20 minutes of play and out-hustled UVA on the glass, 20-14. Jayden Gardner knocked down the game’s first field goal before the Hurricanes scored 12 straight points to open up a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes of action. Miami led for the rest of the way and its 10-point advantage at the intermission tied for its largest lead of the half. The Cavaliers shot 10-for-29 in the first half, including 2-for-9 from deep, as Gardner led all UVA scorers with six points at halftime. Beekman dished out seven of his nine total assists in the opening half.
The Hurricanes scored the first five points of the second half to secure their largest lead of the contest [41-26], but UVA quickly responded with a 16-2 run of its own. After holding Miami scoreless for nearly a 6:00 stretch, UVA ignited a scoring spree that was highlighted by 10 straight points from Vander Plas on three made 3s, one of which he converted into a four-point play. After Vander Plas buried his third 3 of the run, UVA only trailed by one [43-42], its lowest deficit since one minute into the contest. Miami regained a double-digit lead [61-51] with just under 2:00 to play after holding UVA to without a made field goal in nearly 4:00 of action. With under 1:00 to play, the Cavaliers scored eight straight points in a span of a little over 30 seconds to cut Miami’s lead back to two, 61-59. UVA then opted to intentionally foul the Hurricanes on their next two possessions before Clark was fouled on a 3-point attempt with five seconds left. Clark connected on all three of his attempts at the line to make it a one-point game [65-64]. Miami missed the frontend of its final two free throws of the game, giving UVA a chance to tie or take the lead on its final possession of the game. With four seconds left, the Cavaliers inbounded the ball opposite of their own basket, and after pushing the ball up the floor, Beekman lost his handle as time expired, resulting in no shot attempt by UVA on its final possession of the game.
The Cavaliers return to action against UAlbany (5-9) on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Tipoff at John Paul Jones Arena is set for 6 p.m. on ACC Network. BUY TICKETS