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Basketball falls to Clemson in lopsided defeat on road

After enduring a disappointing 19-point home loss to Florida State last Wednesday, coach Tony Bennett joked afterward that at least Virginia reached the 50-point mark with freshman guard Tristan Spurlock's basket during the game's final seconds.

But against Clemson Saturday, Bennett could find no such silver lining, as the Cavaliers fell by an even wider margin, 72-49. Virginia was defeated by the Tigers' frontcourt alone, which contributed 51 total points. Senior forward Trevor Booker and junior forward Jerai Grant led the way with 32 combined points, owning the paint and clearing the way for teammates to cut to the basket.

Though Virginia (14-11, 5-7 ACC) made only two of its first eight field goals, it only trailed Clemson (19-7, 7-5 ACC) 19-14 with 6:20 left in the first half. But then the Tigers went on a 10-2 run, culminating in an and-one layup by Grant who overpowered the outstretched arms of sophomore center Assane Sene. Buoyed by this strong interior play, the Tigers shot 53.8 percent from the field during the period and 9-of-10 from the free throw line, compared to Virginia's 35.7 percent and 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.

Sophomore guard Sylven Landesberg tried to keep the Cavaliers in the game early with nine first-half points, but his team still faced a 41-22 deficit heading into halftime. Landesberg did little to stop the bleeding in the second half, scoring only four points, as he and the Cavaliers watched the Tigers build as much as a 32-point lead when Booker dropped in a deuce with 5:37 left in the game. Following the basket, Virginia mounted a 13-0 run fueled by seven of sophomore Sammy Zeglinski's 11 points - his first double-digit scoring output since Virginia's Jan. 31 victory against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. But the Cavaliers would not cut any further into the Tiger lead, as not enough time remained for a serious comeback. The result was a fifth consecutive loss for Virginia, which sits in eighth place in the ACC.

The Cavaliers have four games remaining in their regular season schedule. Their next matchup will be Tuesday on the road against Miami.

-compiled by Andrew Seidman

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