augusta free press news

That was Virginia basketball: ‘Hoos strangle Providence, 58-40

uva basketball
Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Providence shot 23.5 percent from the floor. Jayden Gardner had 21 points on nine shots and 13 rebounds. Virginia responded well after the Friars got within six in the second half.

That 58-40 win in the championship game of the Roman Legends Classic on Tuesday was classic Virginia basketball.

It was 30-15 UVA at the break, and 42-28 after a Gardner jumper with 12:56 to go. Providence went on an 8-0 run as the ‘Hoos went scoreless for the next four and a half minutes, struggling against a Syracuse-like defensive strategy – pressing in the backcourt, halfcourt traps in the frontcourt.

Defense, go figure, would win it down the stretch for Virginia. Providence only made one shot from the floor in the final 10:49, going 1-of-18 as the Cavaliers closed on a 16-4 run.

That was as nice a win as the Navy loss in the opener two weeks ago was a bad loss. Providence was 5-0 coming in, with wins over Wisconsin (who upset Houston earlier in the day on Tuesday) and Northwestern, a night earlier.

Aside from the two-minute stretch in which the Friars cut the lead from 14 to six, it was Virginia’s game the rest of the way.

A 13-0 first-half run got the margin into double-digits as the ‘Hoos led by 15 at the break, behind 14 points from Armaan Franklin, on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, 4-of-6 from three, and 10 points from Gardner.

Franklin (+16 plus/minus) went to the bench with his third foul just 22 seconds into the second half, and then picked up his fourth foul at the 11:06 mark.

He got just nine minutes of floor time in the second half, going scoreless, with no shot attempts, three turnovers.

Gardner (11 points) and Kihei Clark (10 of his 12 on the night) picked up the slack in the final 20 minutes.

Gardner (+25 plus/minus) finished 8-of-9 from the floor for the game, getting good looks on several possessions in isos that allowed him to face up from 12 feet and drive to the rim one-on-one.

Clark’s contributions – he was 4-of-12 from the floor, 2-of-5 from three – were with him playing more off the ball in this one, allowing him to run off screens for open looks.

Reece Beekman (+15 plus/minus) had five points on 2-of-8 shooting, but had a team-high seven assists in 38 minutes without a turnover.

Clark (+15 plus/minus) had five assists and one turnover in 39 minutes.

Odd stat of the night: Virginia had 15 turnovers, Providence eight, but UVA had a 16-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

This was the result of great defense in transition, great defense all around, really.

Providence was 12-of-51 (23.5 percent) from the floor and 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) from three. Lots of misfires from deep, but lots of contested shots at the rim as well – Providence was 6-of-18 on shots at the rim, with Kadin Shedrick, who had five blocks on the night, controlling the paint.

Shedrick (+10 plus/minus) also had seven boards, but Gardner, aforementioned, had 13, as UVA owned the caroms (38-27) against a Providence team that had outrebounded Wisconsin 44-35 in the 63-58 Friars win in Madison last week.

Virginia also got seven rebounds from Francisco Caffaro Poppy (+8 plus/minus) in 16 effective minutes off the bench with Shedrick again battling foul trouble.

Kody Stattmann got 13 minutes off the bench. They weren’t all that effective – he missed his only shot attempt, had a rebound, a foul, a turnover, and a +2 plus/minus.

Ten guys got minutes, but three – Malachi Poindexter (6), Igor Milicic Jr. (3) and Carson McCorkle (1) – made cameos, or less.

Story by Chris Graham