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Inside the Numbers: Why the lid came off the rim for UVA in road win

uva basketballFor the better part of four games, #18 UVA couldn’t buy a jump shot, and that trend seemed to be continuing Saturday.

The Cavs missed their first eight jumpers against an underwhelming N.C. State defense, and had just eight points in the opening 9:11.

And then … the lid came off.

A Kyle Guy three opened things up, and a look at the play-by-play for the next six minutes reads like a recap of a three-point shooting contest.

Virginia made seven of its last eight jumpers to finish out the first half – all threes – on its way to an 11-of-16 effort from three-point range in what turned into a 70-55 win.

The damage was largely done by Guy, who was 5-of-7 from behind the arc on his way to a 19-point game, and London Perrantes, who was 3-of-5 from three-point range.

Perrantes, you may remember, was the one in a historic slump, shooting 27.6 percent from the field (16-of-58) and just 17.9 percent from three (5-of-28) in his last four coming in.

And Guy, well, Guy wasn’t even getting on the floor, logging just two minutes in the overtime loss to Miami, and scoring just three points on 1-of-10 shooting in 26 minutes in the Cavs’ last three.

Back, then, to Perrantes, who also had 10 assists in the win, after compiling just nine total in the four-game losing streak.

Obviously Perrantes, a starter since arriving on Grounds four years ago, didn’t forget for two weeks how to pass the ball to open teammates, then suddenly have a eureka moment where it all clicked.

What makes it all click is having guys out there – notably, one named Guy – who can knock down shots.

For all the questions being asked on the message boards about coach Tony Bennett’s commitment to the mover-blocker offense, it’s what brung us here, so you have to dance with it.

Which is a harsh way of saying, OK, you don’t change what you do or who you are when things aren’t working.

As with most things, it’s a tweak that gets it all working the right way again.

When you have a shooter like Guy knocking down jumpers, one, those points count, and two, it opens things up for everybody else on the floor.

For Perrantes, he gets dribble drive lanes. The world opened up a bit for Devon Hall as well, who knocked down two threes, and also got into the lane and got to the line eight times.

You might not have noticed, but UVA was 10-of-17 on shots at the rim – layups and dunks – in addition to the lights-out shooting from three.

State, on its side, was 6-of-17 at the rim, and 7-of-27 from three-point range.

Notice a trend there?

Virginia, defensively, didn’t have to respect the Pack on the perimeter, and made life tough for State in the lane.

On the other side of the floor, it was the shooting from outside that opened up holes in the lane that Perrantes and Hall were able to exploit.

It’s art when it works.

Column by Chris Graham