Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
We said before the game that it would be a low scoring affair, and that was certainly the case in this one, as the Tigers notched their first ACC victory of the season with a 15 point win over Virginia.
You've gotta hand it to Milton Jennings in this one. A lot of our offensive sets set him up with wide-open shots on the wing, and he capitalized, shooting 5-8 from 3-point land and finishing with a season-high 21 points. Milton has often had confidence issues, but after stroking a few 3s today, he was all smiles. It's great to see a guy that's struggled so much come out and play lights out. If Milton could always play with the kind of confidence he played with for much of today, he could be a real asset. Maybe not as much of an asset in the paint as he should be, but if he keeps up his outside stroke and solid defense, he will be a very solid contributor for us in ACC play.
I was also really impressed with Devin in this one, as he fell one rebound short of pulling off a 3rd consecutive double-double. He attacked the basket early and often; he had trouble finishing these plays with field goals, but he did the next best thing in forcing fouls and capitalizing by converting from the line (he finished 9 of 12 at the charity stripe). He had the presence of mind to force some easy calls, as on two occasions Virginia defenders went airborne and all he had to do was go up and make contact in order to force the call.
One of the big keys to the game was limiting the shooting of Joe Harris. I thought Hall and company did a pretty good job of sticking to him, although he did get open off of screens more often than I would have liked. Fortunately for us, he didn't shoot well in this one, hitting just 2 of 7 shots from beyond the arc.
A game after shooting just 28% from the field, the Tigers converted 17 of 33 shots, good enough for a very solid percentage of 51.5. It's rare to see such great shot selection. It certainly helped that Milton nailed the majority of his jumpers. Another key was that our lower-percentage shooters didn't try to force anything unnecessary from outside. KJ didn't attempt a single field goal, wisely electing instead to attack the basket and force the foul. Rod, too, didn't force anything. He registered four field goals in this one, and three of those were layups.
Winning by 15 is obviously impressive, but it's even more so for a team with so little depth. Roper sat this one out after hurting his ankle in practice, which left the Tigers with just nine scholarship players. Only 6 guys saw significant minutes(Jennings, Booker, McDaniels, Hall, Filer, Harrison) in this one, as the starters did a great job of staying out of foul trouble.
Oh, and how weird was it to see back-to-back offensive interference calls? The call on its on is rare enough, but seeing it twice in quick succession is even stranger.