On Sunday afternoon, the No.5 UVA men’s basketball team defeated No. 7 UNC by a final score of 56-47. Both teams were coming off of blowout losses in the Big 10-ACC Challenge earlier this week, but the Cavaliers were able to bounce back after their rough performance and extend their win streak over the Tar Heels to five.
Once again, UVA’s strong defensive unit was able to cover up some of the holes created by their offense. Over the first ten minutes of the game, they limited the Tar Heels to only ten points and only 2-11 on field goals. Overall, the Cavalier team held UNC to only 37% (17-46) from the field and an astonishingly low 7% (1-14) from behind the arc. One key for Tony Bennett’s defense was slowing down UNC’s star freshman Cole Anthony, who was held to only twelve points (the second lowest of his career) and much of this can be attributed to Kihei Clark’s aggressive defensive play throughout the game.
On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers appeared much less menacing. While the team was able to spread out the scoring tonight (25 points coming off of the bench), there were still plenty of mistakes to be made.The team committed 12 turnovers, and shot only 33% (16/49) from the field. However, strong games from Francisco Caffaro (career high 10 Points and 7 Rebounds) and Thomas Woldetensae (Career high 11 Points and 3 for 4 from three) helped lead the Cavaliers offense to victory.
A deciding factor in this contest was the drastic difference in free-throw shooting abilities between the two teams throughout the game. Fouls were being called constantly throughout the game, as UVA committed 18 team fouls while the Tar Heels committed 14. UVA was able to convert many of these opportunities into points, as they shot 72% (18/25) from the line. UNC, however, let easy points slip away as they converted only 55% (12/22) of their free throw attempts.
This victory brings the Cavaliers to 8-1 on the season, and 2-0 against ACC opponents, while the Tarheels drop to 6-3, and 1-1 in the ACC. The Wahoos will look to finish 2019 strong as they face Stony Brook (7-3) on Wednesday, December 18th at John Paul Jones Arena.
Article recap by Dylan Castagne
Produced by Lauryn Nilson
Photography: Jack Mulquin