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Scott German: Inside the numbers of UVA’s 60-48 win over UNC

kihei clark unc
Kihei Clark had six points and five assists in UVA’s 60-48 win over UNC. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia bolted from the starting blocks here Saturday evening against North Carolina and forced the Tar Heels to play catch up.

It wasn’t pretty as the Cavaliers won their seventh straight against UNC, 60-48.

The Heels simply could not recover from a horrendous shooting effort, as they made just three of their first 18 shots, falling behind 21-4, and for UNC it was like paddling upstream the rest of the game.

And if anyone believes Carolina is closing the gap with Virginia, then consider the following: in losing for the seventh straight time in the series, it is now the longest stretch since losing eight straight.

When did UNC ever lose eight in a row to UVA? It was when the series began in 1911.

It was also the fourth consecutive time the Heels have failed to score 50 in Charlottesville.

In failing to have a player reach double digits, you have to go back, in Carolina basketball history, to 1966, to duplicate that. And in that game, it was a deliberate slowdown contest against Duke in which the final was 22-21.

The Cavaliers (15-3, 11-1 ACC) now must make the quick turnaround and focus on a Monday showdown with Florida State.

For UNC it was an opportunity missed. Virginia was noted as a high seed (No. 3) in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s first bracket released Saturday. UNC is running out of chances to get tourney-building wins against quality teams.

To compound the problem for North Carolina, just prior to tipoff the ACC announced that Carolina’s scheduled home game against Virginia Tech scheduled for next week had been postponed, due to a positive test within the Hokies’ team.

In tonight’s win, it was the second consecutive opponent that the Cavaliers held to a season-low point total.

Wednesday’s 57-49 win over Georgia Tech was the lowest point total this season for the Jackets.

Carolina vs. Virginia was a classic contrast-in-styles game. UNC scores with ease, putting up 91 in a win last Saturday at Duke. UVA, we know, prefers, or rather often dictates, a slower pace.

One quick look at the final game stats in which UNC had 59 offensive possessions, Virginia 55, tells you about all you need to know.

Down 21-4 early, UNC likely had the bus driver turn the heat up a notch for the ride back to Chapel Hill.

UNC, a strong rebounding team, did hold a 41-34 edge in that department, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a horrendous night shooting.

The Tar Heels connected on just 20-of-58 from the floor, including a woeful 2-of-16 from behind the arc.

UVA wasn’t exactly torrid, as the Cavaliers were only 19-of-48 from the floor. Virginia actually made one more three-point basket then from within the arc.

Easy transition has been a trademark of North Carolina basketball. UNC pushes the ball down the floor in hopes of scoring before the defense gets back in position. Tonight UNC had six points on transition, one bucket coming after the game’s outcome had been determined.

One of North Carolina’s main objectives entering the game was to get Jay Huff into foul trouble. Huff was tipped off of that game-plan by his pop, who spotted those comments on Twitter.

Huff committed just one foul in the contest and in the postgame interview said that was what he was most proud of.

“I was definitely proud of the one foul,” said Huff, who had 18 points.

Huff and forward Sam Hauser, who had 17 points, made life miserable for Carolina.

UNC coach Roy Williams said facing Huff and Hauser would be the biggest challenge his team would match up with this season. Saturday, the Huff-Hauser combo proved coach Williams right, as the duo connected on seven of the Cavaliers 10 treys.

The outside shooting prowess of Huff and Hauser created defensive nightmares for North Carolina as they had to spread out-thus allowing more space for Huff/Hauser to move.

Story by Scott German

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