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Take Two: Can Virginia build off Syracuse win, gain split with Clemson?

uva basketball
Photo by Dan Grogan.

Clemson hasn’t played since its 67-50 win at Virginia back on Dec. 22, so there may be some rust there as the teams prep for Tuesday’s matchup in Littlejohn.

The Tigers (9-4, 1-1 ACC) dominated in every way in the JPJ meeting, shooting 47.5 percent from the floor, holding the ‘Hoos to 36.6 percent, outscoring UVA 24-6 on forced turnovers and 22-12 in the paint.

Virginia (8-5, 2-1 ACC) rebounded well from the defeat, shooting 52.6 percent in a 74-69 win at Syracuse.

A key there was how the Cavaliers attacked the 2-3 zone, which normally forces opponents into contested threes – and against Clemson, Virginia loved itself some contested threes.

More than half the shot attempts against the Tigers – 22 of the 41 – were threes, and UVA was 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from long-range.

Against the Orange, just 20 of Virginia’s 57 shots were from three, and the ‘Hoos were a modestly decent 7-of-20 (35 percent) from behind the arc.

Virginia attacked the paint well against ‘Cuse – shooting 14-of-21 at the rim, versus just four makes in seven attempts at the rim in the loss to Clemson.

Ball movement was also evident in assists numbers – Virginia had 22 assists on 30 made baskets against Syracuse; just seven on 15 makes against Clemson.

Senior point guard Kihei Clark had more assists (8) in the Syracuse win on his own, with Reece Beekman at five and Jayden Gardner four.

Gotta move the ball around, gotta attack the paint, obviously. Maybe Tony Bennett has his team using the tape that his support staff puts down on the practice floor to remind his guys where to be in the Pack Line to remind them not to shoot outside 16-17 feet.

A quota – say, 12 threes – would also be a good idea, given that UVA is shooting 31.9 percent from three this season.

On the defensive end, Clemson won the first matchup by 17 despite having an off-night from three. The Tigers were 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) two weeks ago, down a good bit from its season 41.0 percent shooting clip, which ranks sixth nationally.

Al-Amir Dawes, a 41.0 percent shooter himself on the season, was 2-of-9 from three, for some reason cranking up bad shot after bad shot.

On the Virginia side, the Cavaliers lost by 17 despite getting a career-high 20 points from Beekman, who is averaging 6.8 points per game on the season.

Beekman was 7-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-5 from three in the effort.

For the season, he’s 38.0 percent from the floor and 24.0 percent from three.

Which is to say, don’t count on another 20 from him Tuesday night.

Story by Chris Graham


augusta free press
augusta free press