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Virginia Basketball: #2 ‘Hoos rally, defeat Louisville, clinch ACC regular-season title

uva basketballMake it four! Second-ranked Virginia rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit to defeat Louisville, 73-68, and win its fourth ACC regular-season championship in the last six years.

The ‘Hoos (28-2, 16-2 ACC) led by as many as nine in the first half, but Louisville (19-12, 10-8 ACC) closed on a 6-0 run to pull to within 36-33 at the break.

A 14-4 burst out of the locker room, buoyed by 3-of-3 shooting from three-point range, put Louisville on top, 47-40, on a three by Malik Williams at the 16:16 mark.

It would be a slog from there. Back-to-back threes by Kyle Guy and Braxton Key finally put UVA back in front, 61-59, with 6:23 to go, but Christen Cunningham answered with an and-one on Louisville’s next possession, the free throw putting the Cardinals back on top, 62-61.

An 11-2 Virginia run over the next 5:30 would put it away. Louisville shot just 2-of-11 from the floor in the final 5:45 as the Cavaliers took control.

A Jay Huff three-pointer, his third of the game, put Virginia up 66-62 with 5:10 to go, and the score would get no closer.

UVA struggled a bit at the line trying to close it out, shooting just 5-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final 1:11, but it didn’t matter.

In the 64-52 win at Louisville two weeks ago, it was the De’Andre Hunter show, as the redshirt sophomore scored 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

Hunter struggled Saturday, shooting just 3-of-13 from the floor en route to scoring nine points, but Ty Jerome more than made up for it.

Jerome had scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting in the win at Louisville, but on Saturday, the junior carried the team, scoring 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting with a game-high six assists in 39 minutes.

Kyle Guy had 13 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Huff finished with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench.

Key also contributed nine points off the bench for Virginia, which as the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament gets a double-bye and will play on Thursday at noon against the winner of the Clemson-North Carolina State game.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press