Inside the Numbers: Ty Jerome, De’Andre Hunter, Jay Huff dominate paint in Virginia win

uva georgia techVirginia had trouble, briefly, with the Georgia Tech 2-3 zone, missing five straight from the field early, as the ‘Hoos were just 2-of-7 from the floor in the first 5:21.

Just one of those seven shots was in the paint.

From that point on, 31 of UVA’s 47 shots from the floor had paint on them.

Ty Jerome shot 7-of-9 on the night in the paint, and he wasn’t the most efficient ‘Hoo, as it turned out.

Jay Huff was 4-of-5, slightly better, percentage-wise, but still, not the top guy.

That would have been De’Andre Hunter, who was a perfect 5-for-5 in the paint.

It’s not the way guys scored in the post back in your dad’s day, when a big guy set up on one block or the other, put his hand in the air, sealed his man off, took an entry pass, and shot a hook, a fadeaway or used a drop-step to get to the rim.

Hunter exploded to the rim on straight drives into the teeth of the Georgia Tech 2-3, which isn’t how it’s supposed to work, but it did, and nicely.

Huff, and Mamadi Diakite, who was 3-of-4 on shots in the paint, got theirs because they were moving.

Huff, in particular, seemed to be open every time he’d dribble-handoff to a guard, then dive to the hoop on the back end.

Which made things easier for Jerome, whose night was one teardrop after another, to a point that he only hoisted two three-point attempts, which, he averages five three-point attempts per game, so, that seems significant.

It’s not as if Virginia didn’t shoot well from three – the Cavaliers were actually pretty good, connecting on 9-of-17 from long-range.

You’re going to get better looks from beyond the arc when you’re touching the paint the way Virginia was able to Wednesday night.

What you saw wasn’t Duke making a bunch of contested threes against their nature as a team that doesn’t normally make even its open threes.

Virginia’s outside shooting was almost an afterthought, considering how ruthlessly efficient the ‘Hoos were in the paint.

And we’re talking here about a Georgia Tech team that, yes, has now lost nine of its last 10, but that’s not because of what it does on the defensive end.

Per KenPom.com, even after Virginia shredded Georgia Tech for 1.373 points per possession in the 81-51 win, the Jackets are still 29th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, which, 29th, out of 353 teams in D-1, that’s in the top 10 percentile, so, nothing to sneeze at there.

There’s a reason that Tech coach Josh Pastner kept talking about UVA being a national-title contender in his brief postgame with reporters.

Blowout win against an overmatched foe, sure, but the way Virginia played, and attacked, a solid defensive unit, is indicative of this team’s ceiling being pretty high.

Column by Chris Graham

         
 

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