Home McKneely, hot-shooting Virginia streak past Syracuse in ACC opener, 84-62
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McKneely, hot-shooting Virginia streak past Syracuse in ACC opener, 84-62

Chris Graham
isaac mckneely
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Virginia had a 20-5 run in the first half, a 21-3 run in the second half, made eight of its first nine threes in the second half.

Then, Syracuse coach Adrian Autry decided to break out the 2-3 zone.

Came a little late.

The ‘Hoos (7-1, 1-0 ACC) led by as many as 33 before garbage time, and there was plenty of garbage time, in what ended up being an 84-62 win on Saturday in the teams’ ACC opener.

Isaac McKneely, who needs to be greedy like he was in this one, had a career-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 6-of-8 from three.

Actually, he needs to be greedier than even that.

Reece Beekman, still a little gimpy from a knee injury that had him a game-time decision on Wednesday, had 13 points and eight assists, and held Syracuse point guard Judah Mintz, averaging 20.4 points per game coming in, to five points on 2-of-8 shooting.

Andrew Rohde was the other UVA player in double-figures, with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting along with four assists.

JJ Starling had 13 points to lead Syracuse (5-3, 0-1 ACC).

Game Notes

The 84 points is a season-high for Virginia, and the third game in the eight played in which the Cavaliers had 80 or more.

The 84 points came on 61 possessions. That works out to 1.377 points per possession. Coming into the game, Virginia was averaging 1.083 points per possession, which ranked 102nd nationally, per KenPom.

Syracuse trailed 70-40 with nine minutes left when Tony Bennett cleared the bench. The Orange scored 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting in garbage time, and still had two starters on the floor (Starling and Chris Bell) at the end.

Even then, ‘Cuse averaged 0.939 points per possession. Virginia was fifth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency coming in (0.911 PPP).

Virginia won the battle of the boards – 33-27 – and on the defensive end, the ‘Hoos had a 71.4 percent rebounding rate, which is more where it needs to be.

Team Coverage: Virginia 84, Syracuse 62

uva cheerleaders
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP


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].