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Late lineup adjustment by Bennett keys #21 Virginia to 68-58 win over Louisville

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Trey Murphy III with the finish at the rim. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Sam Hauser had 24 points, Jay Huff 10, but Tony Bennett had them on the bench for most of the final 9:39, and the defense-first lineup paid dividends as #21 UVA defeated Louisville 68-58 Saturday in the Yum! Center.

Bennett subbed Hauser and Huff out at the 9:39 mark and the ‘Hoos (17-6, 13-4 ACC) up 51-47.

Huff wouldn’t check back in, and Hauser got 1:04 of floor time the rest of the way, as Bennett shortened the rotation to his best defenders – point guards Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman, lockdown perimeter guys Tomas Woldetensae and Casey Morsell, motor four Justin McKoy, rangy big Trey Murphy III.

It seemed at first that Bennett was trying to steal a minute or two to get to the under-eight media timeout.

Woldetensae got fouled trying to shoot a three at the 8:47 mark, and converted all three free throws to push the lead to seven.

A Murphy lean-in jumper made it nine, and then after a Samuell Williamson jumper in the paint, a pair of McKoy driving layups gave Virginia its biggest lead of the day, at 11, 66-55, forcing a Chris Mack timeout at the 6:12 mark.

The closest it would get from there would be nine, as Louisville (13-6, 8-5 ACC) shot 4-of-14 from the floor and scored 11 points in the final 9:39.

Notably: the Cardinals had shot 9-of-14 from the floor and scored 26 points in the opening 10:21 of the second half.

Oh, and by the way, with the win, Virginia is the ACC regular-season champ for the third time in four seasons, with help from Notre Dame, which upset #11 Florida State 83-73 earlier in the day on Saturday.

Not bad for a team that had started the week reeling from an ugly three-game losing streak, then limped to a 62-51 win over league doormat Miami on Monday.

UVA never trailed in this one, leading by as many as 10 in the first half before going into the break up 28-21, then getting back out to double-digit leads three different times in the early stages of the second half before a Carlik Jones layup got the Cardinals to 51-47 at the 10:27 mark.

A 11-2 run over the next 4:59 would be the difference, and it would happen with Virginia’s two leading scorers on the bench.

Hauser’s 24 came on 9-of-17 shooting. He also had a team-high eight rebounds in 30 minutes.

Murphy had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and six rebounds in 38 minutes.

Huff had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and six rebounds in 26 minutes.

UVA shot 51.9 percent (27-of-52) despite connecting on just 3-of-15 from three-point range.

Louisville shot 36,8 percent (21-of-57) from the floor. ACC player of the year aspirant Carlik Jones, who had come in averaging 17.6 points per game, had six points on 2-of-15 shooting.

Story by Chris Graham

 


Postgame Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Team Notes

  • Virginia (17-6, 13-4 ACC) clinched its 10th ACC regular-season title (5thunder Tony Bennett) and sixth No. 1 ACC Tournament seed
  • UVA has 17 or more wins for the 10th straight year and 13 or more ACC wins for the fourth straight year
  • UVA finished 6-3 in true road games
  • UVA has won six or more road games for the fifth straight season
  • UVA shot 53.8 percent in the first half and led 28-21
  • UVA matched a season low with three 3-pointers

Series Notes

  • Virginia is 17-5 all-time vs. Louisville in a series that began in 1923-24
  • UVA is 11-2 vs. the Cardinals in ACC action
  • The Cavaliers are 5-2 vs. the Cardinals in Louisville and 7-2 overall at KFC Yum! Center
  • UVA has held Louisville to 59 or fewer points in 10 of 14 contests since the Cardinals joined the ACC in 2014-15
  • Tony Bennett is 12-2 vs. Louisville as head coach at Virginia

Player Notes

  • Double Figure Scorers: Sam Hauser (24), Trey Murphy II (17), Jay Huff (10)
  • Hauser had a season-high 24 points
  • Hauser has reached double figures in 21 games
  • Hauser matched a season high with two blocked shots and added a team-high eight rebounds
  • Huff (4 blocks) passed Mamadi Diakite for second on UVA’s career blocked shots list with 158
  • Huff recorded his 17th multi-block game (44th career)
  • Huff has reached double figures in 17 games
  • Murphy III reached double figures for the 15th time
  • Justin McKoy (4 points) matched a season high with six rebounds

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