On Saturday night in Littlejohn Coliseum, the #18 Virginia Cavaliers (9-2, 5-0 ACC) dominated the #12 Clemson Tigers (9-2, 3-2 ACC) by a score of 85-50.
In the early minutes of the game, UVA’s Jay Huff provided the offense for his team. Huff picked up right where he left off, after scoring a career high 18 points in the last two games, as the Hoos pulled ahead 12-2. Tomas Woldetensae added to the lead off of the bench by sinking 2 threes, pushing the score to 18-2. Woldetensae hasn’t seen the court much in the past few games, but he proved he deserves more minutes after finishing with 14 points and shooting 4-6 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Clemson endured a scoring drought of over 10 minutes, in what was the team’s first game since January 5th, and ended the streak with a single free throw to make the score 20-3. The Tigers could not get the ball to go through the net for most of the first half, and finished with just 17 points at the intermission. Hunter Tyson was the lone bright spot for Clemson with 7 first half points in a game where no Tiger scored in double digits. At halftime, the Hoos led 34-17.
Clemson started to knock down shots in the second half, but UVA caught fire from deep. Going into today’s game, Clemson had the top defense in the ACC, but the Hoos dropped an astounding 52 points in the second half while getting deflections and steals on the other end, proving once again why Tony Bennett’s team is one of the strongest defenses in the conferences.
If there was any chance for Clemson to creep back into the game, it ended due to a three point barrage from the Cavaliers. The Hoos made nine straight triples with the help of Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, Trey Murphy III, Casey Morsell, and Tomas Woldetensae. That run also included several layups and assists from Reece Beekman, who had a nice all around game with 8 points and 6 assists. The impressive 9 straight three pointers brought the UVA lead to 70-37.
After building a sizable lead, Tony Bennett expanded his rotation and 10 different players scored for the Hoos, including 5 in double figures. In addition to Woldetensae, Sam Hauser finished with 14 points, Trey Murphy III had 13, and Kihei Clark and Jay Huff both had 12. The Cavaliers recorded 22 assists in the game, leading to them making 56% of their three pointers and 61% of their overall shots. It was an offensive showcase as UVA sank a season high 15 three pointers. Although Clemson picked up the pace on offense in the second half, it was nothing in comparison to the Hoos, as they cruised to a final score of 85-50.
UVA’s first four ACC victories came against teams farther back in the standings, so with this first victory over a ranked opponent, UVA showed that the team can handle better competition. The Hoos will host NC State on Wednesday in the hopes of building off this outstanding performance, while Clemson will look to rebound from this loss against Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Footage Courtesy of ACC Network and UVA Athletics