Double Bonus: Georgia Tech 2

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Joe Harris and the Hoos rolled to their 9th ACC win.

The Virginia men’s basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak with a convincing 82-54 win against Georgia Tech on Sunday. The Cavaliers pulled away over the last 14 minutes to easily take care of the Yellow Jackets, but there were some key themes throughout that led to the victory. The “Double Bonus” takes a closer look at some of the storylines in the win.

Dealing With Switches

Late in the Miami game, the Hurricanes decided to switch almost any screen set for Joe Harris in order to keep him away from the 3-point line with clean looks at the rim. On Sunday, Georgia Tech expanded the same strategy from the outset as the visitors switched any guard-to-guard screen in the Cavaliers’ offense. The goal was again to keep the Hoos’ sharp-shooters from finding open 3-point shots. In a sense, the move worked as Harris finished 0-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and Paul Jesperson went 1-4 too. Unfortunately for the visitors, UVa quickly adjusted its offense to attack the switches.

A few early examples of the strategy:

  • Switched when Harris set a flare screen for Jesperson on the third possession.
  • Switched when Jesperson screened away from the ball for Jontel Evans on the fourth possession.
  • Switched when Jesperson screened away for Harris on the fifth possession.

After the Virginia staff spotted the switches on the early possessions, the coaches made some adjustments after the first media timeout. The moves included, one, sets to force switches that UVa wanted to attack and, two, sets to use post-to-guard screens for Harris more often.

Coming out of that media timeout, for example, the Cavaliers sent Harris to screen away for Evans first and then had Jesperson set a back screen for Harris later in the possession; this forced Mfon Udofia to switch twice on the possession before the team attacked him. How? After