Scott German: Virginia is good at winning rock fights

mamadi diakte notre dame

Mamadi Diakite had a game-high 20 points to lead Virginia. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey warned his team after its Sunday night win at Clemson that playing Virginia was going to be a rock fight.

After Tuesday night’s overtime loss to the Cavaliers, the Irish coach said one of the keys to the game was that Virginia was more comfortable with rock fights than his squad.

Virginia, in the end, found a way to pull out a 50-49 win over Notre Dame that firmly entrenched the Cavaliers into fourth place in the ACC standings, with an 8-5 league mark.

As usual, Virginia won the game ugly, at least from an offensive prospective.

Photo Gallery: Virginia defeats Notre Dame.

After racing up-and-down the floor in Saturday’s game at Louisville, the Cavaliers returned to the norm offensively against the Fighting Irish.

The ‘Hoos shot just 37.3 percent from the field and connected on just 5-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Saturday in the Bluegrass State, Virginia scored 73points against the conference-leading Cardinals.

Tonight, on a first-to-50-wins game, it took Virginia regulation plus five minutes to reach that mark. In overtime Virginia connected on a total of zero field goals.

But enough about the offense. We should get it by now. This team just can’t seem to shoot straight. Yet heading into the home stretch of this grueling 20-game conference regular season, the team finds itself among the conference’s elite.

Alright, elite may be a stretch, but the standings do all the talking, and if the season ended now, the Cavaliers would get another double-bye in the ACC tourney – the coveted goal of the regular season.

So offensive deficiencies noted, how does this team find a way to win?

We know that this current Virginia team is nothing like the team that won the national championship last April.

What also must know by this point in the season is that they defend. And they defend some more. And just when you think they can’t possibly defend any more, they do. It’s like Brey said, playing Virginia is like getting into a rock fight.

And Virginia basketball under Tony Bennett is used to rock fights, heck they probably really enjoy rock fights.

Tuesday night in JPJ, the Cavaliers again found themselves involved in another rock fight.

This time, the opponent, Notre Dame knew exactly what to expect.

And in the end, as usual Virginia had one more rock left, which is all that counts.

Story by Scott German

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