Happy trails continue for Virginia in 75-65 win at Clemson
It was less than two weeks ago the Cavaliers were mauled by Clemson 67-50 in Charlottesville. Clemson had not played a game since that win; Virginia entered the game fresh off a win at Syracuse on Saturday.
After almost two weeks off, Clemson found its shots, as did Virginia. The Cavaliers used a late-game swing in momentum and some mental mistakes by the Tigers to gain another huge ACC road victory.
The last game Clemson played was on Dec. 22, due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Duke program that forced a postponement of the Tigers’ Dec. 29 game against the Blue Devils.
The old saying goes “it’s hard to beat a team twice in one season,” and Clemson couldn’t. The game was a more physical contest than played at John Paul Jones Arena. Clemson could not build or hold a lead against Virginia, and letting the Cavaliers hang around proved costly.
The transfers are living up to their hype. Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin are adjusting to the rigors of playing in the Virginia system, and it’s showing up on both ends of the floor. Tonight, Gardner had a game high 23 points, hitting 7-of-11 field goals. Franklin, while making just 4-of-11 field goals for 13 points, added some clutch baskets in the midrange down the stretch.
Rotation déjà vu. For the second consecutive contest, Virginia used the same eight-man rotation. Kody Stattmann made a strong case to be included in the group. While scoring just four points, he played a solid 19 minutes, which can be a huge difference maker.
Defense travels. Clemson seldom got an easy look at the basket. Unlike the previous matchup against the Tigers, Virginia matched both the physicality and aggressiveness of Clemson. Down the stretch, the Cavalier defense was elite. Up one at 60-59 at the 5:34 mark, Virginia closed on a 15-6 run. Clemson missed seven consecutive shots from the floor over nearly six minutes.
Story by Scott German