Jackets Halt UVa’s Streak

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Virginia’s 60-point streak ended and as a result so did its four-game ACC winning streak.

The UVa men’s basketball team struggled to score down the stretch with just a single field in more than 9 minutes and that cost the visitors dearly as Georgia Tech rallied to win. The Yellow Jackets erased a 9-point deficit and outscored the Cavaliers 18-3 in the final 8 minutes to prevail 66-60 in Atlanta.

“After a win, you don’t get too up. You learn from it. After a loss, you don’t get too down, but you learn from it,” Cav coach Tony Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “If we’re not wise enough to learn from what was taught in certain stretches of this game, then it was lost on us but hopefully we will. We’ll have to battle again. There’s not big separation in this league. It looks like Miami has some separation … [so] we know how we have to battle and just keep plugging. I thought it was in our grasps for a while and then it just sort of slipped out.”

Tech climbed back into the game after trailing 37-28 at the half, but the Hoos (15-6, 5-3 ACC) appeared to take firm control of things with a new 9-point lead at 57-48 and 8:08 remaining. That margin came as Justin Anderson made 3 of 4 free throws following an Evan Nolte 3-pointer at 9:38 to create a 6-0 run.

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers’ offense fell apart after that with just 3 more points and one field goal, a quick Jontel Evans layup with 35 seconds to go, the rest of the way. Before that Evans’ bucket, Virginia missed 10 straight shots, which included a pair of open 3-pointers for Nolte and four shots by Akil Mitchell inside the paint. All of that was part of an 8-of-28 shooting half (28.6%) for the Hoos, who are 1-3 on the road in ACC play. Oddly enough, UVa had made 14 of 27 shots in the first half (51.9%) before going cold late.

UVa’s Joe Harris finished with 18 points.

Mitchell finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season. Joe Harris , who had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 turnovers, joined him in double figures. So did Justin Anderson , who added 10 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assist, and just 1 turnover.

“I think their defensive intensity stepped up a little bit in the second half and we just didn’t get the same room and rhythm shots,” Harris said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “That’s also a testament to maybe not moving hard enough on offense and not getting ourselves open.”

“I thought we had great rhythm in the first half. [We were] a little bit stagnant in the second half, but I still thought we got good looks if you count how many times we got the ball right there but didn’t finish or got a rhythm 3,” Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “So the quality of the looks were there. Maybe the rhythm at times was a little off as Georgia Tech tried to do a couple of different things, but again you’ve got to capitalize on those.”

Virginia didn’t have enough offense thanks to a sub-par afternoon on defense. The Yellow Jackets (12-8, 2-6 ACC) made 12 of 24 shots (50%) after halftime and finished with 47.8% shooting for the game. Only Virginia Tech had surpassed 40% shooting during UVa’s four-game winning streak (44.2%).

Georgia Tech’s Mfon Udofia gave his team a 59-57 edge on a go-ahead jumper late in the shot clock with a little more than 1 minute remaining. He finished with 15 points as part of four Yellow Jackets in double figures; Robert Carter Jr. and Chris Bolden added 14 each, while Kammeon Holsey had 12.

All in all, that’s not good enough to get a victory on the road.

“Defense is about finishing the possession as much as anything. Were there good spans in there? Absolutely, but to play for four-fifths of the possession and then that last fifth or that last bit is where you don’t come up with it on the glass or your hands are down, that’s it. So why work that hard and then have the plug pull at the end if that’s what happened on a number of occasions, I’m not sure,” Bennett said on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “There were good stretches of it, but you can see when you come in if you’re not really locked in, a team will make you pay, especially on the road.”

Final Stats

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