CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For a second straight game, Virginia struggled with turnovers and allowing second-chance points – until it mattered most.
Two days after those issues led to a 10-point home loss to Duke, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy made sure the Cavaliers tightened up in time to escape the Dean Dome with a 69-61 win on Monday night.
U.Va.’s two junior guards combined to score 21 second-half points, helping the No. 4 Cavaliers overcome a 7-point second-half deficit to avoid what would have been their first back-to-back ACC losses of the season.
“Our guys knew what we had to do,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “And they responded.”
The Cavaliers (21-2, 9-2 ACC) turned over the ball 10 times in the game, but not once in the final 12:24, responding first to a fiery dressing down from Bennett, then to a calming message from Jerome.
Virginia outscored Carolina 21-6 over the final eight minutes.
“We just committed to take care of the ball down the stretch, especially against a team like that, in their house, a packed environment, crazy environment,” Jerome said.
Guy hit two 3-pointers in a 47-second span in the final two minutes of the game to put the visiting team up 67-61.
“We all know he can shoot,” teammate Jay Huff said. “But I think the way he was moving and getting open was really big too, especially down the stretch.”
Guy led Virginia with 20 points while Jerome added 15 points and 11 assists for the Cavaliers, who won in front of former UNC star and NBA legend Michael Jordan two days after falling at home in front of current NBA star LeBron James.
Sophomore wing De’Andre Hunter scored 20 points and had five rebounds.
Junior forward Mamadi Diakite, who collided head to head with Hunter in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Duke, didn’t start Monday but did play. He finished with 6 points, two rebounds and four blocked shots in 23 minutes.
Freshman Coby White led North Carolina (19-5, 9-2) with 17 points. Senior guard Cam Johnson added 16. North Carolina lost freshman Nassir Little to a right ankle injury in the first half. Little did not return.
After Saturday’s loss to Duke, Bennett said his team couldn’t afford another sloppy night of ball security against its next opponent, North Carolina.
Monday night, the Tar Heels looked to prove him right.
Down by as many as 9 in the first half, Carolina used a turnover-fueled 21-6 spurt in the second half to make the game a contest.
Virginia had double-digit turnovers for a fourth straight game. It’s averaged 13.5 turnovers over the past four contests, after turning it over just 8.4 times a game through the 19 games of the season.
But the big finish from Guy and Jerome helped it get by.
Virginia also got a huge swing with 3:29 to go when the officials ruled that Coby White didn’t get off a 3-pointer before UNC had committed a shot-clock violation. White hadn’t realized the shot clock was running down and flung in a desperation 3-pointer just as …read more
Source:: Daily times