The Virginia basketball team clicked off its 12th win of the season Monday against Marshall in convincing fashion. The Hoos posted one hundred points for the first time in the Tony Bennett era and blasted the Thundering Herd 100-64 as a result.
That tantalizing target had fans at the John Paul Jones Arena on the edge of their seats in the final two minutes, an occasion entertaining enough in and of itself. When you throw in the local walk-on flavor at the end of the game with St. Anne’s-Belfield’s Jayden Nixon and Albemarle’s Grant Kersey and Austin Katstra all on the floor, however, it kicks it up a notch. Marshall set the scene by continuing an aggressive fullcourt press in the final moments so when the Hoos crossed halfcourt and 100 points was in range, the usual Bennett stop sign with the shot clock off got bypassed with the excitement.
Nixon whipped a diagonal pass to Kersey, who then kicked it out to Katstra just in front of the UVA bench. He let a 3-pointer fly that bounced off the mark to leave the arena disappointed. Kersey, however, poked the rebound away from Marshall and the ball slipped free to the opposite sideline. Kersey gave chase, gathered, and fired all in one motion. The seeing-eye shot somehow swished through the bottom of the net, causing a giant roar to rise to the rafters as Kersey burst into a wide grin. His teammates mobbed him and pushed him along the sidelines among the euphoria.
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) December 31, 2018
Bennett joked about the moment after the game.
“I think he’s uncoachable – I’m holding up my hand saying hold the ball so we’re going to have to have him run some extra wind sprints or something,” Bennett said with a smile. “They were pressing and it kind of rolled out there. As I said, Grant to me represents like all those guys that have been managers in our program and the practice players. That’s kind of cool that there’s excitement with him and what he’s done.”
Kersey’s latest highlight reel moment coincidentally came from nearly the same spot as another shot from Wahoo lore. In fact, they may need to rename the late corner 3 at this point. Thomas Rogers started what’s become a tradition at this point with a late-game 3-pointer in the 2014 ACC Regular Season Championship clincher against Syracuse and Caid Kirven nailed one in front of the UVA bench in 2016 against Louisville.
Here are those two plays too as a fun way to wrap up 2018.