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Cavs escape

Landesberg jumper gives UVa. a 69-67 win

Story by Scott German
UVa. sports: www.virginiasports.com

Sylven Landesberg’s 15-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds lifted the Virginia Cavaliers to a 69-67 win over upset-minded UNC-Wilmington at the John Paul Jones Arena Monday night.

The Cavaliers, in winning their eighth straight contest, survived a game of streaks, but fortunately had the game’s final spurt to seal the victory.

Wilmington (6-12) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half before going on a 21-4 run to gain a 61-58 advantage with 3:58 remaining. The Seahawks pushed the margin to four at 64-60 with less than three minutes remaining before the Cavaliers found some late life, closing the game on a 9-3 run.

In game where each team went from good to awful on multiple occasions, it was a strong defensive effort by Virginia that forced three late UNC-W turnovers to escape with the win.

Down by four, Virginia forced back-to-back turnovers – converting each into baskets to tie the game at 64. Knotted at 67, Virginia grabbed a Seahawk missed shot with under 30 seconds left to set up Landesberg’s winning shot.

Working the clock down to 14.1 seconds, Virginia called timeout to draw up the final play.

“Actually, that was the play we wanted,” explained a relieved Virginia coach Tony Bennett in the postgame interview session. “It was designed so that Sylven could roll off a screen and either have a good look at the basket or pass it to someone who did.

“You could not have asked for a better look,” added Bennett.

Landesberg’s shot was pure net, giving Virginia the lead for good as Wilmington’s last-second heave from midcourt was short and wide left.

Landesberg led four Virginia players in double figures with 19 points.

UNC-Wilmington was paced by Ahmad Grant with 19 points, 12 of which came on threes. For the game, the Seahawks connected on 11-22 from beyond the arc, limiting the Wahoos to just three of 10 from bonus land.

In a game of runs, in the first half alone each team lead by 10 points, Virginia went from a 24-14 deficit, to a 34-24 lead (20-0 run) holding Wilmington scoreless for over nine minutes. The Seahawks second-half run of 21-4 capped a furious comeback from which they trailed by as many as 17.

Virginia, 12-4 overall, was playing for the third time in five nights, and at times it showed. Numerous unforced turnovers, defensive lapses and slow ball movement set the stage for a Monday-evening upset, but the Cavaliers persevered in the end.

Up next for Virginia on Saturday afternoon is a battle in Winston Salem against Wake Forest.

 

Notes
– Virginia’s win streak (8) is the longest since the 2003-2004 campaign.
– The 20-0 scoring run by Virginia was the second longest in school history.
– Virginia is 10-1 at JPJA this season and concluded its non-conference schedule at 10-4.

 


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