CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — No. 13 Virginia (9-2) closed out its non-conference slate on a high note, blowing past UAlbany (5-10) 66-46 at John Paul Jones Arena Wednesday night (Dec. 28).
The Cavaliers were led by Armaan Franklin (20 points, 7-13 FG) Jayden Gardner (16 points, 7-11 FG, 7 rebounds) and Kihei Clark (8 points, 10 assists). With help of 34 points in the paint, UVA shot 48 percent from the field and held the Great Danes to just 31 percent shooting.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia, which was without guard Reece Beekman due to injury, closed out the opening half on an 11-0 run to lead the Great Danes 33-24 at the intermission, but UAlbany gave the Cavaliers trouble throughout the first 20 minutes of play. Although UVA led for 12:08 of game time, the first half saw seven lead changes. An 8-0 run by the Great Danes gave them their largest lead of the game [19-15] with just under 8:00 to play. The Cavaliers regained the lead with a 7-0 run of their own, but UAlbany flipped the score in its favor one last time on its third made 3 and final bucket of the half. After that, the Cavaliers embarked on their 11-0 scoring spree, which was highlighted by consecutive steals from Clark in UAlbany’s backcourt, which he converted to made layups in transition. Franklin and Gardner reached double-digit points in the opening half with 10 apiece. The Cavaliers forced seven UAlbany turnovers in the first half, but struggled shooting from distance, finishing the first stanza 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
The game was never in doubt for the entirety of the second half as Virginia extended its scoring streak to 18 straight points from the jump. The Cavaliers grasped their largest lead of the game [60-32] with 4:30 to play. Virginia shot over 50 percent in the second half, knocking down 12 of its 23 attempts from the field, and nine Cavaliers found them bottom of the net in the second half. Like the first half, Franklin tallied 10 points in the second half.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Armaan Franklin. Franklin scored a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-7 from deep. Franklin’s 20 points are the most he’s scored in a single game since setting his career high of 26 points in UVA’s win over Baylor (Nov. 22) earlier this season. His seven knockdowns from the field also tied his season best and were just one shying of tying his career high.
The Cavaliers, who boast a 1-1 record in ACC matchups, resume conference play at Georgia Tech (7-5, 0-2 ACC) on Saturday (Dec. 31). Tipoff at McCamish Pavilion is set for Noon on ACC Network.