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Virginia’s NCAA Tournament hopes dashed in a volley of misfires

jayden gardner
Jayden Gardner drives to the hoop for two of his team-high 17 points. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

A Jayden Gardner jumper tied the score at 9 with 13:01 to go in the first half. Virginia scored four points until heading back to the locker room, which is all you need to know as to how this one turned out.

North Carolina shot 38.5 percent from the floor, 6-of-23 from three, and still won by 20, 63-43, to advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals.

It wasn’t that the Tar Heels (24-8) did anything particularly shutdown on the defensive end; the Cavaliers just missed open shot after open shot in the first half.

To the tune of going 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, which ended with UNC up 33-13, despite shooting just 38.2 percent and hitting on just 3-of-14 from three-point range.


Virginia (19-13) never got closer than 18 in the second half, despite shooting 13-of-25 from the floor.

Jayden Gardner had 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting, and Kadin Shedrick had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Their teammates: 18 points, 6-of-30.

Yeah, yikes.

The ‘Hoos had come in knowing that they needed a win to keep their slim NCAA Tournament at-large hopes alive.

They no doubt got a lot closer than a team with nothing consistent from the perimeter, and depth issues that forced coach Tony Bennett to go to walk-on Malachi Poindexter for rotation minutes, rightfully should have.

Ah, well.

UNC moves on to face Virginia Tech (21-12) in the semis on Friday at 9:30 p.m.

Virginia heads back home to get ready to watch the NIT Selection Show Sunday night.

Story by Chris Graham

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