Another year, another heartbreaking first-round exit for Virginia.
The reigning champions were upended in the first round for the second time the past three NCAA men's basketball tournaments, this time by No. 13 Ohio. The Bobcats buckled down defensively in the second half and staved off a late Virginia comeback attempt to win, 62-58.
The loss echoes Virginia's historic first-round loss in the 2018 tournament to UMBC, the first time a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed. This game, though, was much more competitive.
Virginia led, 28-27, at halftime and maintained the lead until around the eight-minute mark of the second half when Ohio's Ben Vander Plas hit a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats the lead. They would not trail again the rest of the way. Vander Plas led all scorers with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting with five rebounds, four assists and one block.
Virginia's offense went ice cold in the second half, scoring just two points in a 10-minute span. The Cavaliers shot 35% from the field for the game and went 8-for-31 (25.8%) on 3-point attempts.
The loss marks the fourth time in its last six NCAA men's tournament appearances that Virginia has not advanced to the Sweet 16. In all four instances, the Cavaliers were a No. 5 seed or better.
The win was Ohio's eighth all-time in NCAA men's tournament history and first since 2012 when the Bobcats advanced to the Sweet 16 as a No. 13 seed.
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