#7 Virginia holds off upset-minded Stony Brook, wins 56-44
No offense to Stony Brook. Those guys played their asses off, and were the better team for a long stretch of this game.
This one was a five-point game with six and change to go before an 11-2 Virginia run created breathing room.
We’re 10 games in, and the Cavaliers are 9-1.
This team lost a lot from last year.
So did North Carolina, which will be 6-5 by the time you read this, and it’s hard to imagine the Tar Heels getting an NCAA bid, the way things are looking now.
Kentucky lost at home to Evansville. Duke lost at home to Stephen F. Austin.
At least if it had been Stone Cold Steve Austin, you could understand that one.
This Virginia team, for all its flaws – and its flaws are myriad – its one loss was on the road at a good Purdue team that had a wee bit of motivation.
This ‘Hoos team hasn’t lost a game it was supposed to win, it’s 2-0 in the ACC.
Things could be worse.
Now, things can be better. A lot better.
Yet again, it didn’t get to 60, scoring 56 points on 57 possessions.
Five of 16 from three.
Kihei Clark, the five-something point guard, is being asked to do way, way too much. He had 14 points and six assists, but had to play 39 minutes, had to shoot the ball 10 times, and had six turnovers.
Kody Stattmann (seven points, 3-of-9 shooting) and Casey Morsell (two points, 1-of-7 shooting) still aren’t getting it done from the perimeter.
Tomas Woldetensae (eight points, 3-of-4 from the field, 2-of-3 from three) has been better the past two games, but he needs to shoot it more.
Mamadi Diakite (13 points, six rebounds) and Jay Huff (12 points, seven boards) put up good numbers, but the numbers didn’t seem to correlate to how they played.
Stony Brook got way, way, way too many shots at the rim – shooting 12-of-19 on layups and dunks.
They got in the lane more than the ACC team: Virginia was 9-of-16 at the rim, which when you factor in the 5-of-16 from three, you get 7-of-20 on two-point jumpers.
Twenty two-point jumpers for Virginia; Stony Brook put up just five.
Analytics will tell you that your best shots are threes and shots at the rim. Virginia got the best of this one because the ACC team has better athletes, but the ‘Hoos have South Carolina from the SEC this weekend, and pretty soon, it’s the teeth of the ACC season.
The win percentage is going to head south if you have too many more where the other team gets to the rim and keeps you from getting to the rim the way things played out tonight.
This is all me being a bit nitpicky.
Again, for those keeping score, won by 12, to improve to 9-1.
Just sayin’, there’s a lot left to be desired.
Story by Chris Graham