The opening game for the Virginia Cavaliers (0-1) did not go as planned. In the first half against the Navy Midshipmen, the Hoos shot well from the field (53.8%), but they were lackluster from beyond the arc (25%). Navy held the lead after the first half due to their eight for 12 shooting from three. In the second half, the Hoos’ defensive efforts came to life, but they shot worse from the field than Navy. The Cavaliers shot 28%, compared to Navy’s 36%, which allowed the Midshipmen to hang on. As they look towards their meeting with Radford, the Cavaliers look to regain confidence, as they still search for their first win.
After giving up 42 points in the first half, the Hoos’ defense held Navy to 24 points, while also forcing nine turnovers in the second half. They limited the impact of Navy’s John Carter Jr., who had 16 points in the first half and finished with 19, which allowed UVA to tie the game at 55 with 8:45 to go. Reece Beekman’s peskiness allowed him to compile six steals in the game. Navy went four minutes and 25 seconds without a score before they finally regained their lead with 5:20 remaining. After an odd defensive display in the first half, UVA was able to make necessary adjustments to close the gap.
Navy caused issues for the Cavaliers by forcing them to shoot from the outside. The Hoos had 20 points in the paint in the first half, compared to only 10 in the second half. Despite the Midshipmen rolling out undersized lineups, they made it difficult for UVA to get clean looks inside the paint. Indiana transfer Armaan Franklin, who shot 42.4% from three with the Hoosiers in the 2020-21 season, missed his first six attempts from the outside before making one with 15 seconds to go. It is not safe to assume he will have off-nights like this often, so he should be able to find a groove in his second game. When it comes to the overall scoring, UVA needs guys to step up. Jayden Gardner led the way with 18 points, while also adding 10 rebounds for a double-double. Kihei Clark added 12, but they were the only two scorers in double figures.
The Radford Highlanders finished 15-12 in the 2020-21 season and opened their year with a win, after defeating the Division III Emory & Henry Wasps, 84-72. They were led by sophomore guard Cameron McNeil, who scored 17 points off the bench. He could provide a needed spark for the Highlanders’ second unit, as the Hoos only had six bench points against Navy. Along with this, junior forwards Rashun Williams and Dravon Mangum had 13 points apiece.
The Cavaliers will look to maintain the defensive prowess they showed in the second half in the Navy game, but they need their shots to fall. They could be 1-0 had it not been for their scoring drought that lasted eight minutes and thirty seconds and their six turnovers in the last 12 minutes. However, the defensive effort was solid on close-outs and limiting the points in the paint, especially in the second half. The Hoos are undefeated in their six matchups against the Highlanders, with the last being a 54-44 win in the 2010-11 season. UVA will host Radford at John Paul Jones Arena on November 12th at 7 P.M.