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Hot shooting, late fingernail-biting, but #14 UVA holds on, defeats Pitt, 73-66

tomas woldetensae uva pitt
Tomas Woldetensae had 14 points off the bench for UVA in its 73-66 win over Pitt. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia took control with a 16-0 second half run, then held off a late Pitt charge to win, 73-66, on Saturday in JPJ.

The Panthers (9-6, 5-5 ACC) led for much of the first half, but a late 8-0 run by the Cavaliers (13-3, 9-1 ACC) put them up 30-27 at the break.

An Au’Diese Toney layup tied the game at 36 with 16:21 to go. Then a pair of Sam Hauser free throws coming out of the under-16 media timeout put UVA back ahead, and that was the start of the run.

Hauser and Jay Huff each hit two from long-range to key the scoring burst, the final three of the run from Hauser at the 12:21 mark putting the ‘Hoos ahead 52-36 with 12:21 left.

Virginia would lead by as many as 17, but a 13-3 Pitt run, fueled by six Virginia turnovers, and an odd technical foul on UVA’s Trey Murphy III, who wondered mindlessly onto the court before an inbounds pass, would get the Panthers back within striking range.

It was 65-58 inside of a minute to go when Kihei Clark split two Pitt defenders for a driving layup that pushed the lead to nine with 45 seconds left.

An Ithiel Horton three with 6.9 seconds left would get the Panthers to six, at 71-65, but Virginia was able to close the game out after the Clark driving layup with a 6-of-6 effort at the foul line in the final 27 seconds.


Chalk up another one for the offense, which shot 53.2 percent for the game, and 65 percent in the second half – 13-of-20 – including a 12-of-24 effort from three.

Not going to lose many games shooting a volume 50 percent from three-point range.

The 73 points came on 60 possessions, for a rate of 1.217 points per possession, an improvement on the 1.158 points per possession that had ranked 10th nationally in the efficiency numbers coming in.

Flip side of that: the defense gave up 66 Pitt points on 62 possessions, a rate of 1.065 points per possession, well above the 0.910 points per possession the ‘Hoos had been allowing on the season.

Live-ball turnovers were a big part of that: UVA had nine second-half turnovers, leading to 12 Pitt points.

Another factor: offensive rebounding. The Panthers had 14 offensive boards, leading to 12 second-chance points.

Pitt, true to form, dominated in the post, scoring 42 points in the paint, shooting 19-of-35 at the rim, which is astounding against a Virginia D that had been allowing 17.7 shots at the rim per game coming in.

Credit to the interior defense, though. UVA was only credited with two blocked shots, but 16 misses in 35 shots at the rim is a sign that there was some contesting going on.

Justin Champagnie, the ACC’s leading scorer and rebounder, had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Pitt, he needed 18 shots from the floor to get those 18 points.

Xavier Johnson, who had 32 points for the Panthers in their upset win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday, had 10 on 3-of-12 shooting.

Pitt shot 43.3 percent from the floor and was just 4-of-14 from three.

Virginia got a season-high 23 points from Hauser, on a coolly efficient 8-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three.

Tomas Woldentensae, who hadn’t scored in a game since pouring in 14 two weeks ago in the win at Clemson, had 14 in this one, connecting on 4-of-5 from three-point range.

Huff had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, 3-of-4 from three, and led UVA with eight rebounds, but he fouled out late, and foul trouble (heard that story before?) limited him to 26 minutes.

Clark had 11 points and eight assists (good!), but was 4-of-12 from the floor and had four turnovers (ahem).

Team Notes

  • Virginia (13-3, 9-1 ACC) shot 53.2 percent from the field and 50 percent (12 of 24) from 3-point range
  • The Cavaliers improved to 9-1 when scoring 70 or more points
  • UVA shot 50 percent or better from the floor for the seventh time (7-0)
  • UVA shot 50 percent or better from 3-point range for the fourth time (4-0)
  • The Cavaliers improved to 8-0 at home, including 5-0 in league play

Series Notes

  • UVA is 17-4 all-time vs. Pitt in the series that dates back to 1957-58.
  • UVA has won six straight contests vs. the Panthers
  • Virginia has won 13 of the last 14 games and is 7-1 in Charlottesville
  • UVA is 10-1 against Pitt since 2013-14 when the Panthers joined the ACC
  • Tony Bennett is 10-2 all-time vs. Pitt

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Sam Hauser (23), Tomas Woldetensae (14), Jay Huff (13), Kihei Clark (11)
  • Woldetensae matched a season-high with four 3-pointers
  • Hauser had a season-high 23 points
  • Hauser has reached double figures in 15 of 16 games
  • Huff (two blocks) recorded his 11th multi-block game (38th career)
  • Clark added a game-high eight assists

uva pitt

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press