Inside the Numbers: #1 Virginia attacks the paint in win at Miami

uva basketballAfter a game that saw #1 Virginia hoist 38 threes in a loss to Virginia Tech, you knew that coach Tony Bennett would have his guys thinking, you know, threes, maybe something else?

It took four minutes and 39 seconds for the ‘Hoos to shoot their first three-pointer, a make by Kyle Guy, and you still assumed he would be assigned to running extra sprints at practice on Friday.

A relatively modest 17 three-point attempts of the 48 shots overall, got to consider that a message sent, as Virginia shot 12-of-21 in the paint in its 59-50 win at Miami.

The beauty was, Miami coach Jim Larranaga seemed to want to use the blueprint that Virginia Tech had drawn up over the weekend in its 61-60 upset win, packing the paint with a 2-3 zone after falling behind 13-5 early.

Virginia struggled on its first several possessions against the zone, but it did something it didn’t do against the Hokies. The ‘Hoos ran their zone offense, sticking redshirt freshman De’Andre Hunter into the middle of the zone on the offensive end, and though he wasn’t all that successful in the first half, scoring seven points, but on just 3-of-10 shooting, with two turnovers, UVA was attacking.

And Hunter got on track in the second half, killing the ‘Canes in the lane, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a run that had the wunderkind scoring 12 of Virginia’s 14 points as the Cavaliers put the game away.

Attack, attack, attack some more.

Minutes

The guards – Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and Devon Hall – logged 35, 35 and 31 minutes respectively. That’s still 84.2 percent of the minutes in the backcourt, but down from the 89.4 percent that they’d been averaging over the past five.

Nigel Johnson got 10 minutes off the bench, and Hunter, who got 30 minutes on the night, played nine in the backcourt, in a lineup that, damn, if we could get it on the floor more, might just be Virginia’s version of Golden State’s Death Lineup – Hunter, Hall, Wilkins, Guy and Mamadi Diakite.

Oh, we can dream. Tonight, that lineup was actually minus-1, but … give ‘em more minutes together.

Story by Chris Graham

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