CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The UVA men’s basketball team looked like a whole new group of players Monday night, avenging their previous loss to UNC with a 53-43 victory in front of a packed John Paul Jones Arena. This was the lowest score UNC has ever had under head coach Roy Williams.
The Cavaliers took the court with revenge on their minds, hoping to come back after a tough 65-41 loss just nine days earlier down at Chapel Hill. In front of a crowd decked out in orange and blue, the Hoos showed up taking the lead at the half and maintaining it for the rest of the game.
The Cavalier’s defense came out strong and hard Monday night. The Hoos outworked the Tar Heels aggressive offense throughout the entirety of the game. They forced 12 UNC turnovers in the first half, which is more than UNC averages for an entire game. Virginia senior, London Perrantes shut down Tar Heel star Justin Jackson who had 20 points last time these two teams faced off. Cavalier, Isaiah Wilkins also had four out of Virginia’s eight blocks, putting that extra pressure on what is arguably, one of the best offensive teams in the ACC.
While the scrappy and aggressive UVA defense looked similar to what was seen nine days earlier, it was the Hoos offense that looked to be a new and improved group of players. Freshman Kyle Guy put up 17 points and four assists, Perrantes had 13 points and four assists, and Devon Hall had 11 points with five assists.
In an interview after the game Guy commented on this victory stating, “This is our home court, we need to take more pride in defending it.”
And that is just what they did Monday night. The Cavaliers outworked and outplayed the Tar Heels, leading 28-23 going into the second half. For the remainder of the game the Hoos continued to put up a fight, earning 13 offensive rebounds and forcing Tar Heels Junior Isahiah Hicks to foul out. With six minutes left and a solid 48-39 lead, the Hoos continued to pull away, avenging their previous loss with a solid 53-43 victory.
Virginia is now 20-9 on the season and 10-7 in the ACC giving hope to Virginia fans that they have what it takes to be victorious when their shots fall and their defense is aggressive.
The Cavaliers will go on to play Pittsburgh this Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena.