ATLANTA — No. 13 Virginia (10-2, 2-1 ACC) scored 25 unanswered points in a dominant 74-56 victory over Georgia Tech (7-6, 0-3 ACC) at McCamish Pavilion Saturday afternoon (Dec. 31). The Cavaliers never trailed in Saturday’s contest and led for over 39 minutes of game time.
With the win, Tony Bennett picked up his 326th career victory as UVA head coach, tying Terry Holland as the program’s all-time winningest coach.
Four Cavaliers in Kihei Clark (15 points, 8 assists), Jayden Gardner (14 points, 7-12 FG), Armaan Franklin (11 points, 5 steals) and Kadin Shedrick (11 points, 5-5 FT) scored in double figures. Virginia, which shot 45 percent from 3-point range, recorded a season-high 14 steals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
UVA closed out the first half on a 9-0 run, which was capped by the Cavaliers’ eighth made 3-pointer on a knockdown from Isaac McKneely. McKneely’s 3 found the bottom of the net nearly as the game clock expired to deliver a 36-25 UVA lead – its then-largest of the contest – at the intermission. Virginia drained eight of its first dozen shots from the field, including a 4-for-6 mark from 3-point range. The Cavaliers went on to shoot 52 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes of play and although Georgia Tech shot 45 percent, the Yellow Jackets finished the half with just nine made field goals. Franklin led UVA at halftime with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep. The Cavaliers assisted on 12 of their 13 made field goals in the opening half, led by Clark who tallied five of his eight assists in the first half.
Coming out of the break, Virginia extended its run to 25 straight points by scoring the first 16 points of the second half. The Cavaliers more than double up Georgia Tech, 52-25, after holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless for over 8:30 of play. UVA also forced 12 of Georgia Tech’s 23 total turnovers in the final 20 minutes of action. Shedrick scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, when he also went 5-for-5 at the charity stripe. Ultimately, nine Cavaliers found the bottom of the net in UVA’s second ACC win of the season.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Kihei Clark. Clark tallied a team-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and tied for a game-high eight assists. During UVA’s 25-point scoring spree, Clark either scored or assisted on 16 UVA points. Saturday’s performance also marked the ninth straight game in which Clark had either recorded double-digit points or had at least eight assists. On the defensive end, Clark added three steals.
The Cavaliers travel to Pittsburgh (10-4, 3-0) for an ACC contest on Tuesday (Jan. 3). Tipoff at Petersen Events Center is set for 9 p.m. on ACC Network.