Virginia has the ball. Ten seconds remain on the clock. The game is tied. A trip to the ACC Tournament Semifinals on the line. Kihei Clark has the ball in his hands as the clock winds down. He dishes it to Reece Beekman, wide open on the wing and he fires from three. Up to this point in the game, Reece was 0-5 from deep, but this time was different. The ball sinks right through the bottom of the net and it’s over! The Cavaliers have defeated the Syracuse Orange 72-69.
This game did not always look like it would be decided at the buzzer. Early on, the Syracuse defense was suffocating, dominating the Cavaliers early on. Syracuse got off to a 7-0 lead and never looked back for the rest of the first half. While the Cavaliers had some great defensive possessions, they could never string enough together to mount a comeback. Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim was absolutely electric in the first half, scoring 15 points on 3-4 shooting from deep.
A strong stretch over the last four minutes of the game kept UVA in the contest, trailing just 36-39 at halftime.
Coming out of the break, Virginia looked like a different team. The Wahoos looked rejuvenated on offense, and Tony Bennett’s Pack Line defense limited the impact of Buddy Boeheim.
With just under 18 minutes left in the game, Sam Hauser (21 PTS, 5 REB) hit a three that gave the Cavaliers a 42-39 lead, their first of the game. From this point on, each team would battle back and forth, trading baskets until the final buzzer.
With 28 seconds left, Trey Murphy III (15 PTS) fouled Buddy Boeheim which would send the Syracuse star to the line with a chance to tie the game. The Junior guard sank both free throws, and the Hoos had the ball with a chance to win.
With Beekman inbounding the ball with 9 seconds left, everyone in the arena held their breath in anticipation. Kihei scanned the court, looking for an opening, until he drove through the lane and made a perfect pass to the Beekman, and the rest is history.
After the game, Beekman gave credit to his coaches and teammates for giving him the confidence to take that shot. “It’s a big shot and our coaches and everyone believed in me and they didn’t have me out there for no reason,” Beekman said after the win.
While the Cavaliers can celebrate their comeback victory, they have to remain focused as they will return to the court tomorrow night in the conference semifinals to face either Miami or Georgia Tech.