Armaan Franklin and Jayden Gardner scored 18 points each and the Cavaliers pulled away in the second half for their sixth win in a row
Quinten Post and the Eagles gave the Cavaliers some trouble in the first half, but eventually, UVA was able to string together multiple scoring runs to pull away in the second half. Behind a balanced scoring attack that featured four players in double figures, headlined by 18 points each from Jayden Gardner and Armaan Franklin, No. 7 Virginia cruised to its sixth-straight win with a 76-57 victory over Boston College on Saturday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.
Given UVA's recent success running small-ball lineups, the Cavaliers went with Ben Vander Plas starting at center for the fourth-straight game and asked him to guard the 7'0" Quinten Post, Boston College's leading scorer. Post struggled at first, committing three turnovers in the first couple of minutes, including a pair of traveling violations. But then, Post settled in and this Saturday ACC matchup briefly turned into the Quinten Post show. Post scored 14-straight points for the Eagles, capped off by a pair of three-pointers as Francisco Caffaro was unable to keep up with Post, who hurt the Cavaliers on the interior and from the perimeter.
Fortunately for Virginia, the rest of Boston College's team scored just 11 points in the first half as the Cavaliers did a solid job guarding everyone not named Quinten Post. Even Post had trouble scoring for the rest of the first half, as he scored just two points in the final 14 minutes of the opening half as Kadin Shedrick played excellent defense against Post.
A three-pointer from Boston College's Mason Madsen gave the Eagles a 21-17 lead at the 11:35 mark of the first half. Virginia would go on to outscore Boston College 18-6 for the rest of the half, including a pair of 9-0 runs. The first run was sparked by the stellar play of Ryan Dunn off the bench. In a stretch of just a few minutes, Dunn threw down a high-flying putback dunk, finished a spectacular alley-oop dunk off a lob from Reece Beekman, and hustled to deliver a chase-down block to erase what appeared to be an easy transition dunk for Boston College.
Virginia shot just 2/11 from beyond the arc in the first half, but the Cavaliers were 12/19 on two-point field goals, scoring at will on the interior. Virginia scored nine second-chance points and 18 points in the paint in the first half. Armaan Franklin tallied 10 first-half points and Jayden Gardner had eight.
UVA started the second half strong, going on a 7-2 run out of the gate, helped along by a Kihei Clark steal in the back court that led to a three-point play for Reece Beekman. Virginia built a lead as large as 14 points and looked to start to pull away, but then the UVA offense went dormant for three minutes and allowed the Eagles to stay in the game as Boston College scored five-straight to get back within single digits.
Then came another 9-0 run for Virginia that essentially put the game away. While the Cavaliers found every way to score without using the three-point line in the first half, the threes started to fall in the second half courtesy of Armaan Franklin and Isaac McKneely, who hit two triples each in the second half. Perhaps inspired by the strong play of his fellow freshman Ryan Dunn in the first half, McKneely scored ten points in the second half alone, making all four of his field goal attempts. Virginia shot 55.2% from the floor in the second half and built a lead as large as 27 points.
With the game out of reach, Tony Bennett emptied his bench for the last three minutes of the game as Virginia cruised to a 76-57 victory.
Armaan Franklin continued his recent stretch of brilliant play, scoring in double figures for the ninth-consecutive game. Franklin was all over the court for the Cavaliers, finishing with 18 points, including three three-pointers, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.
Jayden Gardner joined Franklin with 18 points on an efficient 8/12 shooting as his mid-range shot was certainly on point on Saturday. Reece Beekman also reached double figures with 11 points and eight assists. He and Kihei Clark combined to record 14 assists and and just four turnovers. McKneely had 12 points on 5/8 shooting, while Dunn had six points on 3/3 shooting, including a few electrifying plays.
Quinten Post led all scorers with 24 points and Makai Ashton-Langford added 12 points, but no other Eagle had more than four points.
Virginia extended its winning streak to six games and now sits at 16-3 and 8-2 in ACC play. The Cavaliers face a quick turnaround as they travel to Syracuse for round two with the Orange on Monday at 7pm.
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