In a game that was a tale of two halves, Virginia came out on the better side of the result, defeating Louisville 64-52.
Virginia was looking for a dominant performance on the day. Since their second defeat to Duke, UVA has struggled to separate themselves from some beatable teams, although any game in the ACC is going to be competitive. Louisville had redemption in mind after being embarrassed at Syracuse by 20 on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers had to adjust in the first half to a situation that they do not often find themselves in. Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy were not efficient from beyond the arc or the field.
Most of the offense stemmed from the bench, specifically Jay Huff, who had 10 points after coming on for Jack Salt. In total, the starting five for the Cavaliers accounted for only nine of the 27 points in their first half. Similarly to their matchup against Virginia Tech earlier in the week, De’Andre Hunter found himself picking up two fouls in the first half.
Louisville, on the other hand, seemingly could not miss a shot. Redshirt junior Ryan McMahon was perfect from beyond the three point line, putting up 12 points. Matching his total was sophomore Jordan Nwora, who put up 12 of his own.
The second half was a lot more open for Virginia, and De’Andre Hunter looked a lot like more the lottery prospect that he is tapped to be. He put up the only two successful shots from beyond the arc for the Cavaliers.
Virginia found most of their success in the second half when they were able to play the game at their pace. Although the shifty guard combination of Guy and Jerome were not scoring, they were able to move the ball and facilitate Hunter. They also limited the Cardinals to only 15 points in total for the second half.
A turning point that gave Virginia the ball with a chance to take the lead was when Jordan Nwora made a bucket underneath the basket that was called a charge. It was clear on the replay that De’Andre Hunter’s heel was on the arc, which should have resulted in a blocking call upon seeing the replay, Chris Mack adamantly gave the referee crew a piece of his mind and was assessed a technical. This moment was reflective of the exact same call that occurred in their matchup against Duke, in the last two minutes, so it was reviewed and allowed the Blue Devils to take the lead.
After that exchange, Virginia would continue onto a 17-5 run for the remainder of the game.
With the Virginia victory, Tony Bennett’s crew is now alone atop of the ACC standings, although a Duke win later against Syracuse would put them back on top. The loss was a big dent in Lousiville’s race for a top four spot in the conference. This ranking would be monumental for them, as a top four team gets a two game bye in the ACC Tournament.
The Cardinals have a three game run-in, with only a rematch against Virginia being their ranked opponent. Similarly, the Cavaliers have four games remaining and Louisville is their only ranked opponent. They definitely have a tough task hosting Pitt and then traveling to Syracuse.