The No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers remained perfect in the ACC as they held off a late rally from the Lousiville Cardinals to grab the win, 74-64. Kyle Guy led the way for Virginia with 22 points, but first year Marco Anthony was a bright surprise for the Hoos with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting and no turnovers in 18 minutes of action. The Cavaliers shot 54% from the field and 56% from three in the game. Ty Jerome (16 points), came up huge in the second half and hit two big threes to help stave off the upset-minded Cardinals.
With the win, Virginia improved to 21-1 and a perfect 10-0 in the ACC, now a full three games ahead of second place Louisville.
Louisville (16-6, 6-3 ACC) became the first team to shoot 50% against the Hoos this season, and went 44% from beyond the arc. Ray Spalding had 16 points for the Cards, and Deng Adel added 15.
The Cardinals turned the ball over 13 times, leading to 22 points for Virginia. The Hoos only turned it over seven times.
Hall kicked off the scoring for Virginia on a gorgeous backdoor cut to tie the game at two apiece. At the first media timeout, the Hoos trailed 6-4 with 15:06 to play. Virginia went 2-for-7 (29%) over the first five minutes of the game while Louisville went 3-for-6. Ty Jerome tied the game at six on a drive down the baseline as the shot clock ran down, but Anas Mahmoud gave the Cardinals the lead back on a hook shot over Mamadi Diakite.
A Hall steal and dish to Kyle Guy tied the game at eight (the fourth tie of the evening), and Virginia took the 10-8 lead on a dunk by Diakite. The lead was short-lived thanks to a VJ King shot in the paint, but DeAndre Hunter, who was a game time decision due to his rolled ankle at Duke, hit a long jumper to get the lead right back.
Guy, who had a shot brutally blocked by the 7-foot Mahmoud two possessions earlier, wouldn’t do the same a second time as he sent his shot high up off the glass out of reach.
On the ensuing possession, the Virginia defense forced the Cardinals into a shot clock violation, igniting the crowd. Down the other end, Marco Anthony, who saw extended playing time thanks to the suspension of Nigel Johnson, took a baseline jumper with two on the shot clock to put the Hoos up 16-10. Louisville’s Ryan McMahon drilled a deep three, the first for either team, to close the gap back to three.
Anthony drew a foul and Hall scored on the ensuing inbounds play, but Deng Adel drilled a three for the Cardinals to make it 18-16 with 6:58 to play in the half. Not to be outdone, Anthony, the only true first year, buried a three of his own. McMahon hit Louisville’s third straight three, Spalding hit a jumper, and Adel hit two free throws to give the Cardinals a 23-21 lead at the 4:20 mark.
Then, Guy and Ty took over. Guy hit a deep two and a three from the corner to give Virginia the 26-23 lead, then Jerome drove the lane to draw the foul and got the bucket to drop. The free throw gave Virginia a 29-23 lead, matching their largest lead in the game.
Quentin Snider got his first points of the game on a three to close the gap to 29-26 with 1:42 to play. Virginia caused their second shot clock violation of the game with 40 seconds left in the half, bringing the crowd to their feet. After a quick timeout, Virginia easily broke Louisville’s press and Hall found Guy curling around a screen for a three over Mahmoud to give the Hoos a 32-26 lead at the half.
Guy had 14 points in the first half to lead Virginia, and Anthony and Jerome each added five points. The Hoos shot 50% from the field and 43% from three over the first 20 minutes. After three turnovers in the first six minutes of the game, Virginia settled in and only had one more the rest of the half.
Adel led Louisville with seven points, and McMahon chipped in six on 2-for-3 shooting for three. The Cardinals shot 40% from the field and 44% from three, turning the ball over seven times. The Hoos were able to take advantage of those TOs to the tune of 12 points off turnovers in the first half. Virginia had three first half steals.
Hall opened the second half with a three to push the lead to nine, but a Snider bucket made it 35-28. Jack Salt missed two free throws and Spalding made a nice cut for the lay-in to push the margin back to five points. Both teams kept trading buckets as Guy hit a long two, VJ King executed a finger roll, and Guy pulled the trigger on a fadeaway jumper to make it 39-32 with 17:42 to play.
Hall gave the Hoos their first double digit lead of the game at 42-32 thanks to another three, and Virginia forced Mahmoud into a travel on the other end. Jerome added to the lead on a floater in the lane to make it 44-34, but King hit two free throws to pull the gap back to 10 points.
Louisville went into a zone, and Jerome found a lane. He drove, collapsing the Cardinal defense, giving him a chance to dish it out to Anthony. Anthony hit his second three of the game from the corner to put the Hoos up 47-34 with 12:58 remaining. Jerome got a steal, then promptly turned the ball over, giving Dwayne Sutton an easy dunk. On the next possession, Jerome atoned for his mistake by hitting a downtown three over McMahon to make it 50-36 with 11:43 left.
Spalding and Mahmoud scored around two Diakite free throws to keep Louisville close at 52-40. An acrobatic layup by Guy pushed it back to a 14 point lead, but Sutton hit a three – Louisville’s first of the second half – to make it 54-43. Adel hit a long two, Louisville’s fifth straight made shot, with 7:54 left to make it a single digit game at 56-47.
Anthony hit double digits on a strong drive to the hoop to push the lead back to 11 with 6:46 left in the game.
Adel hit a three with 4:17 left to make it 60-54 and put the pressure back on the Hoos, forcing Coach Bennett to take a timeout. Guy scored on the ensuing play, but McMahon hit his third three of the game to close within 62-57 with 3:23 to play.
The defense held after a Guy turnover thanks to a slip, and Jerome came down and buried another three with five seconds on the shot clock, pushing it back to 65-57 with 2:28 to play. After a McMahon miss, Jerome did the exact same thing and gave Virginia an 11 point cushion. That cushion was short-lived, however, as Adel hit his third three of the game to push it back to an eight point differential. Hunter shot-faked Mahmoud and made the jumper for the 10 point lead at 70-60.
After two Louisville free throws, Jerome made the long pass to Wilkins for the easy dunk and the 72-62 lead with 36 seconds left, before finally closing out the game with a 74-64 victory.