CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Notre Dame (10-17, 2-14 ACC) missed a potential game-winning 3-point try at the buzzer as No. 7 Virginia (21-4, 13-3 ACC) held on to defeat the Fighting Irish, 57-55, at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday afternoon (Feb. 18). The result marked the Cavaliers 11th victory in their last 12 games, including eighth straight at JPJ.
With his 133rd career start and after dishing out his third assist of the game, Kihei Clark (15 points, 4-7 FG, 6-8 FT) became UVA’s all-time leader in both categories. He passed London Perrantes on the all-time starts list and broke John Crotty’s career record of 683 assists, a record that stood since 1991. Clark finished Saturday’s game with four assists, which is also good for career assist No. 685.
Armaan Franklin (12 points, 4 rebounds) and Reece Beekman (11 points, 5 assists) also scored in double figures for the Hoos. Jayden Gardner and Ben Vander Plas added eight points each, and Gardner’s 12 rebounds were a game high.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia led the Fighting Irish 29-25 at the half after tallying five steals in the first 20 minutes of play. Clark led all scorers at the break with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting and sunk three free throws. Beekman chipped in eight points in the first half, including a dunk to ignite a 7-0 UVA run in the middle of the half.
The Cavaliers led for a total of 17:25 in the first half, including the last 16 minutes. Virginia tied for its largest lead of the first half [27-18] with 2:21 to go, but the Irish connected on three of their last four field goals to close out the half. After starting the game 4 for 9 from 3-point range, the Cavaliers struggled to hit a triple for the remainder of the first half, missing on their last six attempts from deep.
After Notre Dame made a layup to close out the half, the Irish carried an 8-0 run into the second half to reclaim the lead, 31-29, not even two minutes into the second half.
The two teams would go on to trade baskets for a majority of the second half, with Gardner and Franklin leading the way for the Hoos, combining for 17 of Virginia’s 28 second-half points. The Irish clawed their way back within striking distance in the final minutes before drawing two free throws with three seconds remaining.
With the score, 57-55, in UVA’s favor, the Cavaliers opted to intentionally foul Notre Dame, which brought the Irish to the line. Notre Dame sunk the front end of its 1-and-1 attempt, but missed the second. The Irish secured the offensive rebound, which gave UND guard Dane Goodwin a chance to claim victory for the Irish, but his shot at the buzzer missed the mark, solidifying the victory for the Hoos.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Kihei Clark. For the third consecutive game, Clark reached double figures in the scoring column. On top of becoming UVA’s all-time leader in career starts and assists, Clark scored a game-high 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting and finished 6-for-8 at the charity stripe. He also added four assists and one steal.
The Cavaliers travel to Boston College (13-17, 6-10 ACC) on Wednesday (Feb. 22). Tipoff at Conte Forum is set for 7 p.m. on Regional Sports Networks (RSN).