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Inside the Numbers: Touching the paint key to Virginia attack

uva basketballVirginia coach Tony Bennett likes it when his team touches the paint on the offensive end. Folks at the Barclays Center might want to touch up the court after all the touching the ‘Hoos did in their 75-58 win over Louisville on Thursday in the ACC Tournament.

UVA outscored the Cardinals 42-16 in the paint, shooting 21-of-32 on shots in the paint.

For a team supposedly post-deficient, not bad.

The key is, it’s not all bigs, though the bigs were on point on Thursday. Mamadi Diakite, for instance, had 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench, all five of his makes coming in the paint.

Isaiah Wilkins had seven points, and was 3-of-3 in the paint. De’Andre Hunter, who plays post and perimeter depending on matchups, was 3-of-5 in the paint.

But the guards do as much work attacking as the bigs. Devon Hall, for one, was solid in the paint Thursday, hitting all four of his shots.

Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy each scored multiple buckets in the paint, Guy even registering his first college dunk, sorta, kinda.

That’s how you shoot 52.5 percent from the floor against one of the top 30 defenses in the country.

Virginia struggles to score 50

Some doofus pundit said this about Virginia again this week. It’s a tired line, for lots of reasons.

The ‘Hoos had 75 points on 59 possessions Thursday, 1.271 points per possession, which for sake of comparison, is better than the season average for Villanova, which ranks first in offensive efficiency nationally, according to KenPom.com.

Virginia averaged 72 points per game against Louisville in the three-game season sweep.

Which is more than 50. Good bit more.


A Jordan Nwora dunk cut the UVA lead to 56-52 with 8:55 to go. Louisville was on an 11-2 run, and remember, the Cardinals were confident coming in.

They’d hit one shot from the floor the rest of the way, a Ray Spalding layup with 31 seconds left, basically garbage time.

Louisville finished 1-for-9 from the floor in the final 8:55.

This after finishing 2-of-12 from the floor in the final 10 minutes in the one-point loss in Louisville last week.

The Cardinals, apparently, are a confident lot, but only for about 30 minutes, give or take.

Story by Chris Graham

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