No. 1 men’s basketball dominates Pittsburgh with 66-37 win

Cavaliers clinch outright ACC regular season title for third time in five years


Redshirt freshman guard De'Andre Hunter led Virginia with 14 points Saturday.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

The No. 1 Virginia men’s basketball team cruised to victory against Pittsburgh on Saturday to win the ACC regular-season title for the third time in the past five years. 

The Cavaliers (26-2, 15-1 ACC) had total control in their 66-37 win over the Panthers (8-22, 0-17 ACC), and the victory marked a school-record ninth consecutive ACC road win. 

In the first half, Virginia held Pittsburgh to a mere seven points, and went into the locker room with a 30-7 lead, which is the fewest points allowed in a half by a Virginia team since the shot-clock-era began in 1986. The Panthers shot 4.5 percent from the field and only hit one field goal out of their 22 attempts in the first 20 minutes of the game, which tied for the NCAA record for fewest field goals made in a half in the shot clock era. 

"At halftime, we didn't talk too much about it,” graduate transfer guard Nigel Johnson said. “We were just talking more about staying with it and to continue to do what we do. It was crazy. To hold a team to one field goal in a half and seven points just speaks volumes of our defense. That is what we do every day in practice. It showed today."

Although the Panther offense improved in the second half and they finished with 23.9 percent shooting for the game, they posed no threat to the Cavaliers and became the third Virginia opponent to be held under 40 points this season.

Leading the way on offense for Virginia was redshirt freshman guard De’Andre Hunter, who recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ty Jerome also had a solid offensive performance and reached double figures in scoring for the 13th time this season with his 13 points. 

With such a consistently solid lead, Virginia was able to get many of its subs valuable playing time. Off the bench, Hunter, sophomore forward Mamadi Diakite, Johnson and freshman guard Marco Anthony all received double-digit minutes. Redshirt freshman forward Jay Huff also played for the first time since Jan. 23. 

"We got off to a good start, and we tried to not let up in any way and play as hard as we could defensively and just get good shots," Bennett said. "And we were fortunate enough to be able to get some [playing time for] guys who work really hard in practice."

The Cavaliers have just two games remaining in the regular season before traveling to Brooklyn, N.Y. for the ACC Tournament. First on the schedule this week is a road game Thursday night against Louisville, who the Cavaliers beat 74-64 in Charlottesville earlier this season. Then, Virginia will host Notre Dame for its final ACC contest Saturday.

“We've got to keep playing to the best of our abilities,” Bennett said. “We're going to try to improve, try to prepare the right way and play to win. We cannot get more complicated than that…But, I'm very excited for the guys that have been in this program to win an outright title, that's no small feat."

related stories