The Virginia Cavaliers (16-9, 10-5) knocked off the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-14, 3-10), 63-53. UVA has defeated GT in nine straight matchups and are 17-2 in the last 19. For the Hoos, they were led by Jayden Gardner, who finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Kihei Clark scored 15 points and went 3-7 from deep. Michael Devoe had 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, and Jordan Usher scored all of his 11 points in the second half.
Armaan Franklin was the first player to score in this one after three minutes of action. The Cavaliers would rattle off a 12-0 run to lead 18-4. They would use this momentum to take their largest lead of the night (17) and a 32-19 lead at the half. Gardner went off for 15 in the first half, shooting 6-7 from the field. The Hoos forced 10 turnovers and converted them into 15 points. On the other side, Devoe had nine points, but shot 3-8 from the field.
Usher would score the first five points of the second half to lead the Yellow Jackets on a 7-0 run. Georgia Tech worked their way back into the game, and they brought the deficit to within four points. Clark would hit a three to give the Hoos a seven-point cushion and some breathing room. With 5:44 to go, the Yellow Jackets were down 49-47. Gardner would score four unanswered points, and Clark would hit another three to fend off Georgia Tech, and Virginia will hold onto the win.
UVA has won four straight games, as they continue their push into March. Though the win over Georgia Tech will not get the selection committee excited, UVA’s recent stretch does show this is a different UVA team that lost to Navy and James Madison earlier in the season. If they can keep their winning ways going, the Cavaliers could very well start to see themselves on the bubble. The Cavaliers are still tied for fifth in the ACC standings, but they are only 1.5 games behind the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils.
Up next are the Virginia Tech Hokies (15-10, 7-7), who, despite their record, are rated very fondly in analytical rankings (currently 28th in KenPom and 39th in NET Rankings). The Hokies are also on a five-game winning streak. With a win here, the Hoos would sweep the Hokies in the regular season. The game will take place on February 14th at 7 P.M. at Cassell Coliseum.