newsbreathing room for once five observations from virginias win over louisville

Breathing room, for once: Five observations from Virginia’s win over Louisville

armaan franklin
Photo: UVA Athletics

Good offense

Virginia shot 58.0 percent from the floor, the first time the ‘Hoos were over 50 percent in nearly a month, and went over the 70-point mark for the first time since late January, in Saturday’s 75-60 win over Louisville.

The last time Virginia was over 50 percent from the floor was in the 69-62 OT win over Duke on Feb. 11.

The last time over 70 was in the 76-57 win over Boston College way back on Jan. 28.

The 1.339 points per possession was a high-water mark for the ‘Hoos in conference play this season.

The damage was largely done at the rim (16-of-19 on layups and dunks).

Virginia had 25 assists on its 29 made baskets, 11 from Reece Beekman (0 turnovers), six from Kihei Clark (two turnovers) and five from Armaan Franklin (two turnovers).

The one smudge on the stat sheet was the shooting from three – just 6-of-18 (33.3 percent).

More mover/blocker

Coach Tony Bennett injected some of his favored mover/blocker sides sets into the game plan for Tuesday’s game with Clemson, a 64-57 win, and said afterward that he liked what he’d seen from his team running those sets.

Bennett, not surprisingly, given the results from Tuesday, used more mover/blocker in this one, with some of the sets showcasing a new wrinkle, with Gardner setting a slip screen, then sliding into a triangle look in the post when Louisville switched on the screen, to take advantage of the mismatch with a smaller defender on his back.

Gardner scored eight quick points in a 3:37 stretch of the second half in that look before Louisville called a timeout to make adjustments.

Nice wrinkle there from Coach Bennett.

Gardner finished with 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

He was 5-of-7 on midrange jumpers on the day.

The situation at the five

Bennett was even able to cobble together some productivity out of the five spot on Saturday.

Ben Vander Plas, who has been limited by a back injury, got the start, and had seven points (3-of-6 FG) and four rebounds in 23 minutes.

Francisco Caffaro, in 10 minutes off the bench, had six points (2-of-2 FG, 2-of-2 FT), and Ryan Dunn, who got minutes at the four and five spots in the post, and a couple of minutes at the three spot in the backcourt, had nine points (4-of-5 FG) and three boards in 19 minutes off the bench.

My review of the play-by-play had Dunn with five points and a board in his seven minutes at center, so the overall numbers for the trio who logged minutes at the five spot were: 18 points, six rebounds, 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, 4-of-5 at the line, and a cumulative plus/minus at +18.

The guy who doesn’t need to shoot to have an impact

Reece Beekman has had his best two-game stretch as measured by box plus/minus in the past two games, and he only attempted 11 shots total from the field to get there.

Per BartTorvik, Beekman had a 16.6 BPM in Virginia’s 64-57 win on Tuesday, scoring seven points on 3-of-7 shooting and dishing out eight assists.

His BPM in Saturday’s win was 10.2 – in a game in which Beeks had five points on 2-of-4 shooting with 11 assists.

His totals for the week: 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 19 assists, one turnover in 72 minutes.

Chase Coleman nails the three

The Chase Coleman stepback three with 30 seconds left brought the house down on Senior Day.

The walkon only got 47 seconds of floor time in the win, despite the home crowd chanting his name for the bulk of the last couple of minutes, but he made the most of it.

The future college coach now has 23 points in 32 appearances across his four years at Virginia, on 9-of-28 shooting from the floor (32.1 percent) and 4-of-14 shooting from three (28.6 percent).

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, Want to reach me? Try [email protected].