Defense Keys Victory At UNC

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Jerome Meyinsse continued his strong play with a career-high 3 blocks at UNC.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett always says good basketball has to start on defense. Virginia players have repeatedly said you have to stay in the pack, a reference to playing together and working as a group in Bennett’s Pack-Line defense. For one night in Chapel Hill, Cavalier fans saw exactly what that defensive attitude can create.

The Hoos shut down the paint, got back in transition, and generally made life difficult for the typically high-octane Heels, leading to a 75-60 Virginia win on Sunday night. Cav coach Tony Bennett said the Pack-Line defense performed well in the victory.

“They pounded us on the offensive glass in the first half, then we were better. We wanted to, first, get our defense set, like any team against them has to, because they run hard. And then, be active on the ball, but kind of jam the lane or pack the lane – that’s where the name comes from, be in the gaps,” Bennett said. “Sometimes we trapped the post. But, guys were really on the same page. We didn’t get split much, the ball didn’t get into the paint, and they tried to give them only one shot – which didn’t happen in the first half, did in the second. But, there weren’t a lot of easy baskets; most of them were contested. And when that’s happening, you can feel good about our defense.”

Just how good was UVa’s defense against North Carolina? Consider these numbers for the Tar Heels entering the game with the Hoos:

  • 81.9 points per game, 13th in the nation
  • 48% shooting, 28th in the nation
  • 356 assists, 17.8 per game, 6th in the nation

And now UNC’s numbers against Virginia:

  • 60 points, the Heels’ lowest output of the season
  • 35.7% shooting
  • 11 assists

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