news switch eventually flips for virginia in 66 46 win over albany some observations

Switch eventually flips for Virginia in 66-46 win over Albany: Some observations 

armaan franklin
Photo: UVA Athletics

Following back-to-back losses to the Houston Cougars and the Miami Hurricanes, Virginia concluded the non-conference part of its schedule with a 66-46 win over the Albany Great Danes Wednesday evening in John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers struggled early, and the game was tied at 24 before a late first half 9-0 flurry gave UVA a 33-24 lead at the break. Virginia followed that up with a strong start to the second half that built the lead to a comfortable amount that allowed coach Tony Bennett to go past his normal rotation.

Without Reece Beekman, the offensive and defensive engine not firing on all cylinders

With Reece Beekman out of the lineup, Virginia struggled offensively, but as importantly the UVA defense often didn’t stay in front of Albany’s quick guards. Aside from an 18-0 run spanning halftime, the Cavaliers just could not get untracked offensively.

Without Beekman, who was held out to rest his strained hamstring, Virginia misfired on both ends of the floor for most of the first half. Albany used separate runs of 6-0 and 8-0 to build a lead as large as four points in the first half.

Shooting slump continues, with one exception, Armaan Franklin 

Dismal shooting again plagued Virginia, especially from beyond the arc and the foul line. The Cavaliers were just 5-of-18 from the three-point line and a dismal 11-of-20 from the foul line. Armaan Franklin did step up tonight, finishing with a game-high 20 points on a solid 7-of-13 shooting effort.

Issaac McKneely continued to struggle from three-point land, finishing the game 0-3 from three, and for the season is shooting just 31.7 percent.

As usual, Kihei Clark stands tall 

Despite being the smallest player on the floor, Kihei Clark flipped the switch for UVA. In a span of 16 seconds, Clark stole the momentum from Albany. In what had been a back-and-forth game with UVA leading 27-24, the 5-foot-10 Clark stole the ball from Albany’s Malik Edmead near halfcourt and drove for a layup.

On the very next possession, as Edmead brought the ball up again, Clark picked his pocket, again. Clark’s steals provided a wakeup call to his team and the JPJ crowd.

Sitting Beekman was the right call 

“We need Reece as close to 100 percent as possible, and I think it’s improving. It just didn’t feel quite right,” said Bennett.

It was the right decision tonight, and it may have been the right decision if Beekman was held out of both the Houston and Miami games.

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.