Home Five Observations: Who ya got for Player of the Game for Virginia in the OT thriller?

Five Observations: Who ya got for Player of the Game for Virginia in the OT thriller?

Chris Graham
jordan minor block bc acc tournament uva
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

The guy with the best plus/minus for Virginia in its 66-60 win over Boston College in the ACC Tournament on Thursday was …

You’ll never guess.

Played 18 minutes.

He had three points, was 1-of-5 at the line.

Jordan Minor.

Minor was +14 in his 18 minutes, and his last 9:16 on the floor was crucial.

The 6’8” grad senior held Quinten Post, who had 23 points and 13 boards for BC, scoreless in the final 9:16, blocking Post’s only shot attempt and also forcing a Post turnover on a post-up attempt in OT.

And Minor’s three points happened to be the final three points of the game – on a driving layup with 35 seconds left, then the back end of a two-shot foul with 14 ticks on the clock.

BC started hot; Virginia started, not

Boston College looked like it was ready to run Virginia out of the Capital One Arena, hitting its first four threes on its way to an early 18-8 lead.

The early success from behind the arc would prove to be fool’s gold.

BC finished 9-of-29 from three, so, it was 5-of-25 after that torrid start.

UVA coach Tony Bennett, talking with reporters after the game, attributed the teams’ respective performances out of the gate to the limited warm-up time due to the game being the back end of the evening session.

“We’ve got 20 minutes to warm up, it felt a little off for us,” Bennett said. “They got some transition buckets and some offensive rebounds, and I just thought they hit us in the mouth first, but we stayed the course, got some stops, and then got to it.

“But we were a little just not quite ready to start. We tried to be, but didn’t play out that way,” Bennett said.

Fast-break points

Boston College got back-to-back fast-break threes from Claudell Harris 32 seconds apart less than two minutes into the game.

Those two buckets would be the two fast-break buckets for BC on the night.

Virginia, which almost never runs, as you know, outscored the Eagles in the fast-break department, 10-6.

Harris, meanwhile, would add a third three at the 17:33 mark of the first half.

He made one other, with 57 seconds left in the OT, to briefly get BC back to within three.

After the torrid start, Harris finished with 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting, 4-of-11 from three.

Stat stuffer: Jake Groves

I’ve been writing about this game for the last three hours, and I’m just now telling you about Jake Groves going for 15 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes.

I need to get some sleep, apparently.

Free throws

You know already – 8-of-18.

That’s not even awful.

Awful would be a step up.

Where it most came into play was a stretch beginning with a missed Groves free throw at the 6:41 mark of the second half on the back end of an and-one opportunity.

A make would have pulled UVA within a point.

Dante Harris missed a pair at the 4:16 mark that would have tied the game at 55-55.

Minor missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3:23 to go, again chunking on an opportunity to tie the score.

Isaac McKneely missed the front end of a three-shot foul with 2:55 left, but made the final two to finally knot the score at 55-55.

With 1:00 on the clock, Minor missed two more.

That’s eight (!) points left off the scoreboard in a game that would go to OT.

A reporter asked Bennett afterward if he knew of anything he can do to address the team’s ongoing struggles at the line.

“We’re saving them until we need them. That’s part of the deal,” Bennett deadpanned.

You have to be able to laugh, right?

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].