The Virginia men’s basketball team brought home a win against Clemson this past Tuesday night at John Paul Jones Arena, ending the Tiger’s five-game winning streak and adding another home win in the process.
The usual suspects played key roles in the outcome. Malcolm Brogdon led UVA, scoring 20 points, and Anthony Gill added 12 points as well. That duo provides a consistent scoring punch – Brogdon has eight 20+ games this season, while Gill has reached double figures in all 18 games.
On Tuesday night, however, the Hoos also got needed production from a pair of sophomores. Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins stepped up to help push UVA past Clemson, 69-62. The Hoos are now 14-4.
Both Hall and Wilkins had career scoring highs against the Tigers. For Hall, he chipped in 11 points to set a new career high in ACC games. Wilkins, meanwhile, scored in double figures for the first time in his career with 10 points.
Hall also added 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes. He made 2 of 3 3-pointers and 3 of 4 free throws in the game.
“He did a solid job at Florida State,” Cavalier coach Tony Bennett said. “Defensively there are a few things he’s gotta keep tightening up but I liked what I saw and he’s been in our system for three years.”
“Devon had a great summer offensively, defensively, just playing with a lot of confidence and I think he’s finally stepping into that role and really playing out his potential,” Brogdon said. “I think it’s great, the level that he is playing at, I think we need it, I think we need other guys to step up and him, Isaiah, Darius [Thompson], I thought everybody stepped up.”
Wilkins added 2 rebounds and 2 assists to his stat line as well in 23 minutes. He made both of his free throw attempts.
Most importantly, however, Wilkins was often tasked with defending the reigning ACC player of the week in Clemson 6-‘7” junior Jaron Blossomgame. While Blossomgame poured in 23 points and 6 rebounds, Wilkins did manage to slow him down for chunks of his minutes on the floor.
“I think he’s killing it this year from what the [UVA] coaches told us and what I’ve seen on tape,” Wilkins said. “When I’m in, I’m just trying to make sure that he doesn’t get the catch because that is the easiest way to play defense. If they can’t get the ball, then they can’t score.”
Wilkins appeared more assertive on offense Tuesday and Brogdon thinks that’s a good thing for the Hoos.
“Isaiah is a great passer … arguably the best passer on the team,” Brogdon said. “At times he’s too unselfish and at times he’s always looking for the pass, but you know when he finds that balance where he’s getting people open and also looking for a shot and being aggressive we are really at our best.”