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Virginia defense has that feel again, smothers Boston College

jay huff
Jay Huff had 18 points, eight rebounds and five blocks in Virginia’s 61-49 win over Boston College. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Boston College returned home from a heartbreaking 83-82 loss at No. 21 Duke on Wednesday to face No. 22 Virginia on Saturday at Conte Forum. < Last year, BC gave the Cavaliers a humbling loss on the same floor, and looked to make it two straight  home wins over Virginia. It was not to be, however. For the second straight game, Virginia used a stubborn perimeter defense and a strong inside presence to secure a 61-49 win over the Eagles. It marked the first time this season that BC had been held under 50 points . The inside force this afternoon for the Cavaliers was the one-two punch of 7-foot-1 center Jay Huff and forward Sam Hauser. Huff had perhaps his best game as a Cavalier, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds, while the emerging Hauser is slowly living up to his preseason accolades, posting his third straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Offensive highlights are starting to give way to the trademark of Virginia basketball, the performance on the defensive side of the floor. Boston College coach Jim Christian sounded more like a part of the Virginia media relations team than the BC boss after the game Saturday. "They (Virginia) have ridiculous one-on-one defenders. They simply don't get beat," said Christian. "Every guy that steps on the floor for Virginia guards the ball unbelievably well without help," added Christian. Virginia withstood an over eight-minute scoring drought in the first half (a 14-0 BC run) to battle back to take a 29-26 lead at the break. And again, as on Wednesday night in Charlottesville against Wake Forest, the Cavaliers turned the defensive burner up significantly over the final 20 minutes to eventually pull away for an easy win. This afternoon, Virginia simply sealed off the rim and forced BC to rely on its perimeter shooting – and it didn't turn out well for the Eagles. The Wahoos limited Boston College (0-5 in ACC play, 2-9 overall) to a woeful 30.9 percent from the floor including just 6-of-21 from behind the arc. A fact that certainly didn't go unnoticed by BC coach Christian. "Virginia doesn't make many mistakes, and when they do you have to make them pay, but with Huff down low it's very difficult," said Christian. Huff, in playing perhaps his most complete game at Virginia, drew the praise of Christain repeatedly. "We were getting some lanes to the basket, and Huff was just creating havoc out there, coming in from nowhere to either block or alter shot after shot. He's a phenomenal player," raved Christian. So now this Virginia team is perhaps starting to display its identity. An offense that's still finding its way with many new and moving pieces, but anchoring itself to an old friend-defense. One thing for certain, Jim Christian is doing a great job of promoting that idea. Story by Scott German

augusta free press
augusta free press