UVA Advances In A Nail Bitter

The Tournament Started Off With A Nail Biting Win By University Of Virginia

University of Virginia defeats the University of North Carolina Wilmington by the final score of 76-71.

This was an instant classic to start the tournament off at the Amway Center in Orlando Florida. UVA was able to withstand an early start by UNCW when they had a 14 point lead in the beginning of the first half.

“It was a scrambled game. I teased our guys,” UVA head Coach Tony Bennett said. “I’m glad we worked on our five guard lineup all week in practice. We knew we were going to have to play four guards, and we did talk about it as a staff.”

Speaking of the first half, UNCW got off to a very hot start thanks to the play of Denzel Ingram who hit four threes in the first half. UNCW was also getting anything they wanted and also getting into the paint. UNCW had a 14 point lead at one point after going on a 16-2 run.

“It was a game we were down, I think 11-23, and we were having trouble, and we just said, we’ve just got to space and play,” said Bennett. “Come up with the ball screen, slip the ball screen, space and play, attack. Move it if we have something in transition. We had to get back into the game, try to take good shots, but you needed to be aggressive.”

But then UVA made a huge comeback in the first half by going on a 16-1 run thanks to the play of Marial Shayok who was huge coming off the bench and contributed to the comeback. He had 11 points in the first half. UVA lead at the half, 30-29.

The second half was the most nail-biting half’s you would ever want to be a part of. Back and forth each team went. UVA had a nine point lead but then UNCW came back again and had the lead within two. But UVA hit a clutch shot and iced the game with under 30 seconds.

For UVA, Shayok was flat out balling when he got into the game, as he had 23 points on 8-14 shooting and just couldn’t be stopped. After the game he had this to say about his performance.

“I just wanted to provide energy off the slow start,” Shayok said. “Personally, I just didn’t want to go out like that, and I knew my teammates didn’t either. So I just wanted to come out and provide what I could on both ends and just bring a spark.”

London Perrantes was also another player that was out there balling as he had 24 points on 9-14 shooting and was all over the place defensively. He had this to say about his performance after the game.

“London knows how I feel about him, how much I trust his game,” Bennett said. “And all we’ve been through. It’s a big-time performance on a big stage, something I’ve grown fond of watching him do over the years. It’s just one game. We get to the next one, but I liked what I saw, and I was proud of him.”

For UNCW, they put up a heck of show and gave everything that they had and looked like they were going to win the game but it wasn’t enough to upset Virginia and bust everyone’s brackets. Chris Fleemings had 18 points on 7-16 shooting and also had nine rebounds and four dimes as well. Ambrose Mosley also had 14 points and four threes to lead UNCW in their efforts.

UVA will move on to the next round of the NCAA tournament and they will face xxx. In the round of 32 on Saturday March 18.


Anthony Abruzzo is a sports writer that covers the UCF Men's Basketball team. He is currently a student at UCF as well.