You know you have a good defense when you only score 50 points, shoot 37 percent (19 of 51) from the field and still win. That is exactly what Virginia did on Tuesday night as the Hoos beat the Irish 50-49 in overtime.
With the win, UVA moved to 8-5 in conference play and a full game ahead of Syracuse and NC State in a battle for fourth place. There is a couple things about finishing in fourth that is so important it gives you a double-bye in the ACC Tournament next month in Greensboro. Also, the last time a team finished fourth did not make the NCAA Tournament was the 2010-11 Virginia Tech Hokies.
Coming into last night, Joe Lunardi has UVA in the tournament as a 11 seed and Notre Dame on the wrong side of the bubble. The game was certainly big for both teams.
Mamadi Diakite led all scorers with 20 points (7 of 15 FG, 6 of 8 free throws), including the shot that tied the game at 47 to send it to overtime. The Hoos only scored three points in overtime and two of them came off of Diakite’s free throws.
Another important player for UVA was Jay Huff. Huff only scored 8 points but all of his points came in 1:49 stretch of the second half. He drilled a pair of 3-point field goals, scored on a baby hook in the lane, and blocked a shot.
“That was a great stretch [by Jay Huff]…I thought he took a good step tonight. He’s been doing some good stuff. When you play in overtime and first to 50 wins, every point matters.”
Notre Dame loses again to Virginia and has 2-14 record all time against the Hoos. UVA held Notre Dame to 32.8% shooting on 20 of 61 from the field.
Next up for the Hoos is the last place, UNC Tar Heels on Saturday night in Chapel Hill. It is another game Virginia desperately needs.