Virginia Keeps the Separation, Sends UNC Home
|Posted on March 9, 2023 at 9:05 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The 2nd-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, one of the few teams to be ranked in the nation's Top 25 from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) this season, took the floor against the 7th-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels, who were ranked 1st in the nation's Top 25 in the preseason, for the first of the night cap double-feature here in Greensboro, North Carolina.
This match-up, their third of the 2022-23 season, started off with both teams combining for 10 points in the first seven minutes of play, with North Carolina leading 7-3.
The previous two meetings this season resulted in each squad winning at home, Virginia earlier on by a score of 65-58 and North Carolina with a 71-63 finish.
A steal by sophomore guard Reece Beekman and take to the rim with a man on brought the Cavaliers within two, 13-11.
On the very next possession, Virginia got their first lead of the night, off of a three by freshman guard Isaac Mckneely that made it 14-13 for Wahoo Nation.
Scoring on this their third possession in a row, Beekman would take it to the rim to get the Cavaliers out to a 16-13 lead.
Coming out of a break in the action, fifth-year forward Jayden Gardner's jumper would fall for four-straight scores for Virginia, ahead 18-13.
Smart minds and good passes led to the fifth-consecutive score for the Cavaliers, a dunk by redshirt-senior center Francisco Caffaro.
On their sixth-straight trip down the floor on offense, Virginia would find the inside of the net once again, when Beekman made his three after a miss by graduate guard Kihei Clark, giving the Cavaliers a 23-15 advantage on the Tar Heels.
But North Carolina's final three field goals of the half would be from three-point range, from junior guard RJ Davis, graduate forward Leaky Black, and Davis again, getting the Tar Heels within one, 25-24 at the half.
With 11:11 to play in the game, Virginia led by double-digits for the first time of the night, up 47-37.
However, North Carolina would shrink their deficit to two possessions with 8:15, down five at 51-46 as a result of a three by junior guard Caleb Love followed by Love's assist to graduate forward Pete Lance inside.
A foul by Mckneely would place Tar Heels guard/forward Puff Johnson on the line, where he went 1-for-2 to make it a four-point game, 51-47.
Immediately following these free throws, senior guard Armaan Franklin would turn the ball over by his own baseline.
His response? A block on Love inside, the defensive rebound, and a three at the other end to extend the Cavaliers out to a 54-47 lead.
Franklin would foul Love later on and Love would go 1-for-2, and just like that it was a one-possession game, 55-52, with 2:46 to go.
As he did before, Franklin would have a response. This time he would go up one-handed with his right off the glass on the left side to bring the score to 57-52 Virginia.
Davis would connect on an old-fashioned three-point play on his layup and free throw to follow, and it was back to a mere two points of distance for the Tar Heels, down 57-55.
The Cavaliers would go 7-for-8 from the line to move up 64-55.
Franklin would then assist a dunk by redshirt-junior forward Kadin Shedrick for a 66-55 advantage.
In total, Virginia would make nine of their last 10 freebies, securing therir victory at 68-59.
They never trailed for a moment in the second half, holding onto the lead for the final 27 minutes and 28 seconds of play.
The win advances them to the ACC Tournament Semifinal Round match-up that will occur at approximately 9:30pmET on Friday, March 10th.
Categories: Atlantic Coast Conference, NCAA
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