Virginia badly needed a win and they got it. Beating Georgia Tech 63-58 on Saturday night. The win makes UVA 12-5 overall and 4-3 in the ACC.
Virginia started the game against Georgia Tech with its “big” line-up. Starting Jay Huff, Mamadi Diakite, and Braxton Key down low to go with Kihei Clark and Tomas Woldetensae. From the opening tip you could tell UVA wanted to attack the paint and use their bigs to their advantage.
The first eight points of the game came from Diakite and Huff. That set the tone of the game early. The next six points of the game came by way of three point shot, Kody Stattman and Woldetensae both connected. Suddenly, UVA could score inside and out. They scored 14 points in just over nine minutes of the game. Pretty impressive for a team that coming into tonight’s game was 348 out of 350 teams in scoring offense.
Virginia went to the locker room leading 33-25 over the Yellow Jackets. It was the best half the Hoos had played since beating Virginia Tech on January the 4th.
To start the second half it was more of the same. After a Diakite dunk the Hoos had their largest lead at 43-29, and it felt like the losing streak was going to end. The Yellow Jackets had other plans, clawing all the way back; with 8:15 to play the Jackets had closed to 48-46.
Jay Huff was not having it, though. He hit a three to put the Hoos back up five, and on the next possession he blocked Evan Cole’s dunk attempt. Those two plays were the two most important plays of the game. He ended the Jackets’ best run.
UVA kept it interesting late, missing 3 front ends on one-and-one’s. Clark missed one of them and Key missed the other two of them. The Jackets got it as close to 3 points with 5 seconds left and Diakite heading to the line for two. Diakite hit both and the Hoos won 63-58.
Player of the game, clearly: Jay Huff. Huff scored 17 points, with a career high 6 blocks, and 8 rebounds. Diakite also had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Key had 10, Woldentensae 9, Clark 7, and Stattman with 3.
Virginia scored 63 points on 5-16 from three (31.3%), and 25-53 (47.2%) from two. UVA came into the game scoring 55 points per game, shooting 26.6% from three and 40.2% from two.