The Virginia Cavaliers pulled out a tight victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes in overtime, 71-64, Friday night at John Paul Jones Arena.
The contest was close throughout, with the largest lead being just 9 for Virginia. UVA was led by Sam Hauser and Jay Huff, who both recorded 18 points. Neither team could get much going offensively in the first half, and the Hoos led 29-22 at the half.
UVA opened up a 33-24 lead early after the break but the Golden Flashes quickly came alive, going a 9-2 run and shooting 55.6% from the field in the second half. Mike Nuga led Kent State with 20 points. Kent State briefly took the lead and then the teams exchanged small leads for the rest of regulation.
Virginia trailed Kent State 56-52 with 3:30 to go before Kihei Clark took over the game and drove to the basket and drew fouls on several possessions. Clark recorded 14 points off the bench, 9 of which came from free throws. Late in the game, UVA continued to drive to the basket after largely refusing to do so for most of the early part of the game. The Cavaliers shot 30 free throws, making 22, as compared to Kent State, who made five out of just six free throws.
Clark and Huff each made a pair of free throws to give the Hoos a three-point lead with under a minute remaining in regulation. Trailing 62-59 with thirty seconds left, Kent State’s Danny Pippen attempted three separate three-pointers on the final possession of regulation, burying his third off of another offensive rebound as time expired to tie the game at 62.
The UVA defense came up big in overtime, holding the Golden Flashes scoreless until the final minute of the extra period. The Hoos scored only once themselves (on a Sam Hauser layup) until just 42 seconds remained in overtime, when Hauser drained a three-pointer to give Virginia a 67-62 advantage to all but ice the game for UVA.
Virginia will host Michigan State on Wednesday night at 9:15pm as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.