Men’s basketball stunned by UMBC in Round of 64

Cavaliers become first No. 1-seed to lose to No. 16-seed

20180210-TBennet-AWalsh

The game marred what was one of the most successful seasons in Virginia basketball history, which saw the team take home ACC regular season and tournament titles and ascend from unranked to No. 1 in the nation for five weeks. (Pictured: Coach Tony Bennett)

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

With hopes to bring home its first NCAA Tournament title in school history, the Virginia men’s basketball team looked like anything but a tournament favorite in a shocking blowout at the hands of UMBC, 74-54.

The loss will go down as the most infamous game in Virginia basketball history, as the Cavaliers became the only No. 1-seed to lose to a No. 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history. The Retrievers (25-10) outplayed the Cavaliers (31-3) in virtually every aspect of the game, becoming the first team to drop more than 70 points on Virginia this year.

Virginia came out of the gate very sluggish on offense, but its defense allowed hot-shooting UMBC from building a sizeable lead. The game was knotted at 21 by the half, but UMBC came out blazing in the second half, scoring six straight points on an and-one bucket and a three-pointer. When the dust settled, the Retrievers dropped 53 second-half points on the nation’s best defense.

UMBC senior guard Jarius Lyles will go down as the player who orchestrated the biggest upset in college basketball history, as he scored 28 points on 9-11 shooting. Virginia sophomore guards Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy scored 15 each, but combined for only 2-11 three pointers. In total, Virginia made only four of its 22 attempts from beyond the arc.

The game marred what was one of the most successful seasons in Virginia basketball history, which saw the team take home ACC regular season and tournament titles and ascend from unranked to No. 1 in the nation for five weeks. The embarrassing loss to UMBC will not sit lightly with a team that had the makings of a national title contender.

The team will graduate three players in guards Devon Hall and Nigel Johnson and forward Isaiah Wilkins. Hall and Wilkins have started for the past three years under Coach Tony Bennett, while Johnson transferred in from Rutgers for his final season of eligibility this year.

Looking forward to next season, Bennett will have to replace the trio’s defensive expertise as well as Hall’s offensive spark as he looks to retool the team for another run at the title, with the memory of this loss putting a chip on his shoulder.

related stories