The Virginia Cavaliers (5-3) fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes (7-0), 75-74. The Hoos were down by as much as 21 in the first half and trailed 44-30 at halftime. Jayden Gardner would score eight of UVA’s first nine points in the second half to get the scoring going. The Cavaliers would take their first lead of the game since leading 2-0 late in the game, thanks to a 13-2 run. Taine Murray would score 8 of those points, and Kihei Clark would drain a three from the top of the arc to take a 74-73 lead with 45 seconds to go. Iowa would put the game into Joe Toussaint’s hands, and he would deliver with a tough made shot. Clark would have one more shot, but he came up short on his layup. Kadin Shedrick would get the offensive rebound, but he was swatted away by Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery, and Iowa would survive.
Virginia knew they had a tough task on hand trying to defend Iowa’s offense. Iowa led the country with 97.2 points per game and Keegan Murray averaged 25.7 points per game, also the country’s best. Iowa looked composed and shot efficiently from the field, as they made 17 of their 30 attempts in the first half. UVA shot 13-30, but the Cavaliers’ inability to hit threes put them in a hole (2-9 from deep). Of the Hoos 30 points, 20 of them came from inside the paint. Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon scorched the Cavaliers from beyond the arc, as all 12 of his points in the half came from the perimeter. UVA was led by Gardner, as he scored eight points on 50% shooting.
Both offenses were hot in the second half. Gardner connected on his first two three-point attempts of the season, proving he can score from anywhere on the court. Taine Murray led the Hoos in the second-half scoring 11 crucial points that kept UVA in the game. Though it will not show on the stat sheet, Shedrick played an important role on both sides of the ball. He did well on the perimeter, whether it be switching assignments or defending tightly on the outside, and added solid rim protection. He consistently provides a needed spark for the Hoos, which was evident by the eruption of the crowd on his alley-oop slam. The Hoos shot 17-27 from the field in the half and 7-9 from downtown. When the shots began to fall from the outside, it gave the Cavaliers the needed confidence to claw their way back in.
Even though Virginia’s four-game win streak ended, this is not the type of game to hang their heads on. Overall, the team closed the game well, and Iowa simply made tough contested shots. In the first half, the Cavalier offense would watch the shot clock tick close to zero, as they looked stagnant on multiple possessions. In the second half, they played with poise and methodically. As it looks right now, Iowa is going to be a tough team against any opponent, and UVA was able to match them blow-for-blow.
Jayden Gardner would lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 18. Clark and Murray added 15 and 14, respectively. The Hoos will drop to 13-8 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and 1-3 all-time against the Hawkeyes. Virginia will look to continue from where they left off in the second half when they open ACC play against the Pittsburgh Panthers on December 3rd at 8 P.M. at John Paul Jones Arena.