Cavs Rally For Road Win At Clemson

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Jason Cain’s tip-in lifted the Hoos to a late-game win at Clemson.

CLEMSON, S.C. – Words do not do justice to how unbelievable and exhilarating Virginia’s come-from-behind 64-63 win over No. 19 Clemson was on Sunday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

“I told our guys that I am not sure that I have ever seen a game like that before,” Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. “Our team showed tremendous resiliency throughout the game.”

The Cavaliers (13-6, 5-2 ACC) used a 15-0 run over the final four minutes of play to erase a 63-49 Clemson lead and escape with the one-point victory. Jason Cain tipped in the ball when Adrian Joseph missed a driving shot with 15.5 seconds remaining to give Virginia its only lead of the second half. That lead was the only one the Hoos needed after J.R. Reynolds forced Clemson’s Vernon Hamilton into a missed bank shot attempt on the other end.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Cain, who finished with four points and six rebounds, said.

Reynolds led the Cavaliers with 18 points, including 5 during the final 15-point stretch. Joseph, who had 8 points during the crucial game-ending run, finished with 11 as did Sean Singletary . Mamadi Diane contributed 10.

“That was a big win for us,” Reynolds said. “We just stayed together and believed in one another. Everybody contributed in this. Sean got a big rebound for us. Adrian did a good job. Cain got the tip in. It was a big effort from everybody.”

The victory marked the first for Virginia on the road against a ranked team since Feb. 6, 2003 when the Cavaliers knocked off No. 8 Maryland 86-78 at the Comcast Center. Virginia has now won two straight conference road games after losing the first two at North Carolina and Boston College. The last time Virginia won consecutive ACC road games was in January 2002.

“We hadn’t been blown out in any of our road games this year,” Reynolds said. “In every game, we were right there. I knew that sooner or later, it was going to click for us. It was just a matter of time.”

The situation did not look so good for Virginia for much of the second half. After a tight first half, after which Virginia trailed 34-30, the Cavaliers allowed Clemson (18-4, 4-4 ACC) to slowly pull away. With 5:05 remaining, Clemson’s Trevor Booker knocked down two free throws to give the Tigers a 14-point advantage.

Virginia, however, did not panic.

“Last year, we might have folded,” Cain said. “But this year, we just put our heads down and fought through it. We’re a tight-knit group trying to make things work. We’re more mature and have a lot more bodies to finish games out this season.”

Adrian Joseph came up big by scoring 8 of the Cavaliers’ final 15 points.

Joseph helped the Cavaliers fight through it in a big way with his late-game scoring outburst. He canned two 3-pointers during Virginia’s 15-0 run.

“In every situation, I’m always ready to shoot,” Joseph said. “I shoot when I get the opportunity to. I’m always ready.”

With the Tigers leading 63-62 and 31 seconds remaining, Clemson exited a timeout with a set play that allowed K.C. Rivers to break open along the sideline with two options for passes or a shot. But Rivers stepped out of bounds with the ball as he caught it, turning it over. On Virginia’s ensuing possession, Diane missed an open 3, but Singletary leapt high in the air to pull down the offensive rebound.

Singletary crashed to the floor while coming down with the rebound, but quickly kicked the ball out to Joseph, who missed a short driving shot. That’s when Cain finished the Tigers off with a tip in.

“I think I can jump as high as anyone,” Singletary said of his rebound.

After draining only 2 of 8 treys in the first half, Virginia hit 5 of 12 3-point attempts in the second half.

“We are a good 3-point shooting team,” Leitao said. “We lead the league in makes from behind the line but we only had two in the first half.”

Singletary was in foul trouble for much of the game. He only played 10 minutes in the first half after being saddled with two early fouls. His fourth foul came with 11:36 remaining in the game.

Hamilton led Clemson with 16 points. Cliff Hammonds scored 13 and James Mays tallied 12.

Leitao was pleased with Virginia’s defensive effort on Mays, who has been one of the ACC’s breakout players this season.

“We wanted to crowd Mays when he faced the basket,” Leitao said. “We wanted to make sure that he saw more bodies to make him a little uncomfortable.”

UVa now has four days to prepare for a Thursday evening showdown with Duke at the JPJ. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.

Note: Junior forward/center Ryan Pettinella was in uniform for the first time since injuring his left knee in the San Juan Shootout. He did not play however.

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