Virginia regains its defensive swagger, turns back Notre Dame in ACC opener

The victory at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., incorporated Virginia proscribing the Preventing Irish to 1 box function over the overall Five:47, a stretch that noticed the reigning nationwide champions draw back with an Eight-2 run.

Level guard Kihei Clark led Virginia (Five-2) with 19 issues on 7-for-12 taking pictures, together with a three-point play to enlarge the result in 60-53 with 2:50 last. The junior added 5 assists with out a turnover one sport after committing six in a 98-75 loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.

In that deflating efficiency Saturday, Virginia surrendered through a ways its maximum issues this season and allowed the Bulldogs to shoot higher than 60 p.c. This time, the Cavaliers held Notre Dame (Three-Five, Zero-2 ACC) to 40 p.c and simply Five for 20 from three-point vary.

“We certainly made a step in the fitting path,” Virginia ahead Sam Hauser mentioned. “Gonzaga truly uncovered us on that finish of the ground. That didn’t go away a just right style in our mouths. We took that for my part, and it confirmed this night. We performed lovely smartly at the defensive finish.

“Clearly there’s some issues to scrub up, however certainly and growth evidently.”

Hauser completed with 13 issues, none extra necessary than the closing of his 3 three-pointers that grew the margin to 63-55 with 1:40 to play. The senior switch from Marquette led the Cavaliers with a game-high 10 rebounds and had 4 assists.

Middle Jay Huff, a 7-foot redshirt senior, overcame foul bother in the second one part to attain 15 issues on 7-for-Nine taking pictures in an entertaining matchup towards 6-11 Notre Dame counterpart Nate Laszewski, who had a career-high 28 issues and sank four of seven from in the back of the arc.

The nearest the Preventing Irish got here down the stretch was once 54-51 with Five:48 to play on Laszewski’s layup.

“We did a greater task of expecting and attending to the shooters,” Clark mentioned. “We will be able to nonetheless make stronger. There have been instances the place we did make a few errors, however that’s going to occur, however I believe defensively we did take a step in the fitting path.”

Clark’s on-ball protection served as a shining instance. In drawing the project of guarding Prentiss Hubb, Clark performed a big section in serving to to carry Notre Dame’s main scorer to 1-for-Eight taking pictures for the previous Gonzaga Faculty Prime superstar’s second-fewest issues (4) of the season.

Notre Dame’s beginning lineup no longer counting Laszewski shot a blended Three for 22 (13.6 p.c) because the Cavaliers prolonged their common season successful streak within the sequence to 10 in a row. The victory marked the 9th time in 11 conferences Virginia has no longer accepted the Preventing Irish to attain greater than 58 issues.

Virginia opened its biggest lead of the sport, 35-24, a minute into the second one part, however the Preventing Irish got here storming again in the back of the frontcourt duo of Laszewski and ahead Juwan Durham, who had two dunks right through a 14-Five surge that trimmed the deficit to 47-46 with Eight:26 to play.

Durham had 19 issues on 7-for-11 taking pictures however was once not able to seek out room to move within the painted space when the Cavaliers clamped down on making improvements to to 6-Zero all-time at the street towards Notre Dame.

“Durham and Laszewski harm us,” Bennett mentioned. “We’ve had some bother we’ve were given to shore up guarding those guys which can be just right 4s and 5s, however sufficient just right performs defensively and offensively. Nonetheless some breakdowns, however optimistically we’ll get well.”

A heightened consideration to protection contributed to the Cavaliers opening a 23-14 lead overdue within the first part at the heels of a Nine-2 burst. Over the primary 15 mins, they pressured Notre Dame into as many turnovers as box objectives (3) and restricted the Preventing Irish into stretches of 7 and 5 mins with out a basket.

Protecting the three-point line was once some degree of emphasis, and Virginia hardly ever accepted blank appears because of fast closeouts. Huff was once in particular efficient the use of his period to trouble the Preventing Irish, who entered first within the convention in three-point box function proportion (40.Nine) however ignored their first seven makes an attempt.

Laszewski in short drew Notre Dame inside of one ownership on consecutive three-pointers, however the Cavaliers countered with seven instantly issues from Huff to bump the result in 30-24 at halftime moments after Preventing Irish beginning guard Trey Wertz needed to be helped off the court docket for just right with a sprained left ankle.

Wertz, a switch from Santa Clara who was eligible two weeks in the past, is fourth on Notre Dame in scoring (12.7) and had 27 issues in an 88-78 loss to Purdue Dec. 19.

“It was once up a notch effort-wise serving to every different as a result of Notre Dame is unhealthy,” Bennett mentioned of the defensive appearing. “I stated that Trey Wertz, who’s a key participant, when he didn’t get to play in the second one part, that modified them, even if they scored advantageous with their inside. Higher, however miles to move sooner than we sleep.”

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