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Inside the Numbers: Virginia couldn’t climb out of the hole it dug for itself

tony bennett
Virginia coach Tony Bennett. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia missed 10 of its first 12 shots and had five turnovers in the opening 8:30 of the second half, and was still somehow down just five.

The Cavaliers would rally to tie the game twice, the last time with 6:53 to go, but they never could get things back on track.

“I don’t think we started the second half well enough. We some turnovers, and then a couple breakdowns defensively, and they ran some good stuff, and (Keve) Aluma was a heck of a player. And we just struggled to make some outside shots, so just little things here and there,” UVA coach Tony Bennett said after the 62-53 loss to Virginia Tech Monday night.

Virginia Tech, which recorded its sixth win in a row, has turned its season around with defense. In the Hokies’ first nine ACC games, they surrendered a jaw-dropping 1.179 points per possession to ACC opponents, by far the worst rate in the conference.

Going into Monday night, Tech had limited opponents to .999 points per possession in its most recent five, which would have ranked the Hokies third in the conference for the full ACC schedule to date.

Virginia had a rather efficient first half, shooting 48 percent from the floor and putting up 29 points on 27 possessions, which works out to 1.074 points per possession.

The second-half numbers will tell you why Virginia Tech got the W: Virginia was 10-of-30 from the floor, 0-of-6 from three, and scored 24 points on 32 possessions – .750 points per possession.

“It comes down to making plays,” Bennett said. “We fought back, and I think tied it with about six or seven minutes left. And then it comes down to that, we always talk about that, whatever kind of play needs to be made defensively, offensively, and they did that tonight.”

Quick hits

  • Jayden Gardner had 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first half. He had just two points, on 1-of-6 shooting, in the second half. He did finish with 14 rebounds, tying his season high (he also had 14 boards in the 52-49 loss at JMU in December).
  • Reece Beekman had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and four assists in the loss. Odd stat: when Beeks goes for double-digits this season, Virginia is just 3-6 in those games. When Beekman has five or more assists this season, Virginia is 11-3.
  • Armaan Franklin had nine points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor, 0-of-3 from three. I keep harping on this, but Franklin, last year at Indiana, was a 42.4 percent shooter from three. This season at Virginia, he’s shooting 25.0 percent, and he’s 1-of-14 over his last three games. Odd thing is, he’s actually pretty good on mid-range jumpers – 50.5 percent, on high volume (51-of-101 this season).
  • One guy in the rotation had a positive plus/minus – sophomore walk-on Malachi Poindexter, who logged eight first-half minutes after Kihei Clark had to go to the bench with his second foul. Poindexter didn’t record anything in terms of counting stats, but Virginia outscored Virginia Tech by eight in his minutes on the floor.

Story by Chris Graham

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