Inside the Numbers: A step forward for Virginia?

uva basketballVirginia shot 57.7 percent in the first half, led by 11 just before the break, and then, well, you knew what was going to happen.

A 15-3 Navy run over a more than 11-minute stretch put the Midshipmen in the lead.

Yeah, yeah, the Cavaliers responded with a 12-0 run to take the lead and went on to win, 65-56.

But this one felt like another step back for a team still struggling to find its identity with ACC play proper beginning next week.

“We had a couple uncharacteristic things. It’s some of the inexperience showing, you want to be assertive you want to look, you’d like to penetrate, you’d like to get aggressive stuff, and you just feel a little of that uneasiness, which is part again of inexperience,” UVA coach Tony Bennett said.

It’s odd to say, aside from that 11-minute stretch, but, yeah, aside from that 11-minute stretch, this was the best Virginia has played offensively this season.

The ‘Hoos scored 37 in the first half, connecting on 15-of-26 from the field and 5-of-10 from three, to go into the break up eight.

But they were still stuck on 40 inside of 10 minutes to go, beset by missed shots, turnovers, general sloppy, uninspired play.

And then, in a flash, it was back.

UVA scored 25 points in the final 9:09, scoring on 11 of its last 15 possessions.

But, that first 11 minutes. There were seven turnovers among everything else, after a pretty clean first half – just one turnover in the first 20 minutes.

“Some of those turnovers cost us,” Bennett said.

Navy had eight points off turnovers in the second half, so, yeah, the turnovers cost Virginia.

But, credit where credit is due, the Cavaliers were able to move past it.

Kihei Clark came back from an awful game in the loss to South Carolina last week – seven turnovers – to put up 13 assists against two turnovers on Sunday.

“This was a good game for me to get a good assist-to-turnover ratio,” said Clark, who also 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting in 39 minutes. “I thought I did a better job of taking care of the ball, and my teammates were knocking down shots, which made it easy to get assists.”

Virginia finished 8-of-19 from three-point range, with Casey Morsell connecting on 2-of-6 from long-range, and Tomas Woldetensae going 2-for-4.

Woldentensae, in particular, may be coming around. The JUCO transfer is 8-of-15 from three-point range over his last four games.

There’s an awful lot to still figure out with this group.

“There are a lot of things we can always improve on, but at the same time, I think we are where we need to be in terms of coming together and knowing what we need to do,” forward Jay Huff said. “I think today was a good example of that. We put a lot of stuff together, and we need to make sure we keep that up. There were times in the huddle where, rather than pointing fingers and asking what happened, we knew what we did, and in the second half we tightened it up.”

Story by Chris Graham

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