CHARLOTTESVILLE Va. — No. 13 Virginia (22-6, 14-5 ACC) had four players score in double figures as the Cavaliers got back on track, erasing a two-game skid, with its 64-57 win over Clemson (21-9, 13-6 ACC) at John Paul Jones Arena Tuesday night (Feb. 28).
Jayden Gardner (12 points, 9 rebounds), Armaan Franklin (12 points, 5-11 FG), Isaac McKneely (12 points, 4-6 FG) and Ryan Dunn (10 points, 5 rebounds) led the way for the Cavaliers. First years McKneely and Dunn combined for 22 of UVA’s 24 total points off the bench.
The Tigers entered Tuesday’s game having scored over 90 points in three of their last four games.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both the Cavaliers and Clemson got off to a slow start offensively as the two teams combined to miss the game’s first 11 shots from the field. The Tigers scored the first five points before UVA orchestrated a 17-2 run to flip the score and deliver the Cavaliers’ largest lead of the half, 17-7. A 12-4 Clemson run cut the UVA lead back to single digits later in the stanza. The Cavaliers led 28-23 at the intermission after coming up with six steals, including two by Reece Beekman (7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals).
Dunn led all scorers at the break with eight points after connecting on all three of his shot attempts, including a 3, and was 1-for-1 at the line. He also pulled down four rebounds.
Three minutes into the second half, Virginia sparked a 9-0 run, which was capped by a Franklin made 3 to give the Cavaliers their largest lead of the contest, 41-27, with 12:46 to play. After the Tigers broke up the UVA run with a jumper in the paint, both teams heated up offensively. For the Cavaliers, it was McKneely who scored eight straight points, including an and-1 finish at the rim to get the crowd on its feet.
Despite trailing by nine points with under 2:00 to play, the Tigers did not go away quietly. Clemson tallied five straight points, including a made 3 with 30 seconds to play to shrink the UVA lead to four, 59-55. The Cavaliers closed out the game by sinking five of their last six attempts at the line and stopped Clemson’s offense three times down the stretch.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Jayden Gardner. Gardner posted his 18th double-digit scoring performance of the season after tying for a team-high 12 points, including 10 in the second half. Gardner also added nine rebounds, which marks his third game in the last four with nine rebounds or more.
The Cavaliers host Louisville (4-25, 2-16 ACC) for Senior Day on Saturday (March 4). Tipoff from JPJ is set for 2 p.m. on ESPN2.