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Virginia Goes Ice Cold, Drops Season Opener to Navy 66-58

The Cavaliers scored just one field goal in the final eight minutes of the game and fell to the hot-shooting Midshipmen in the first game of the season

Kadin Shedrick scored a layup to tie the game at 55-55 with 8:45 left in the second half. After trailing for much of the game up until that point, it seemed like the Cavaliers had the Midshipmen right where they wanted them. Virginia was getting stops on the defensive end and was slowly climbing back into the game after Navy had led by as many as eight points.

Virginia would not score another point until just 15 seconds remained on the clock.

Navy switched to a 3-2 zone midway through the second half and the Hoos had no answer, shooting a dismal 28% in the second half and going eight and a half minutes without scoring a single point down the stretch of the game.

Navy’s John Carter Jr., who led all scorers with 19 points, hit a three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to put the game on ice, as the Cavaliers lost their season-opener 66-58 on Tuesday night at John Paul Jones Arena.

Both teams shot below 40% from the field in the second half. The first half, on the other hand, was an entirely different story.

Virginia routinely left Navy’s shooters wide open on the perimeter and the Midshipmen cashed in, going 8/12 from behind the arc in the first half. John Carter Jr. scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half, including a perfect 4/4 from three-point range. Sean Yoder also recorded 11 points in the first half and Navy led Virginia 42-35 at halftime.

Jayden Gardner shined in his UVA debut, scoring 12 points in the first half to keep Virginia in it. Gardner, who transferred from East Carolina after last season, recorded a double-double in his first game as a Cavalier, dropping 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hoos.

Navy shot 66.7% from three and 53.6% from the field in the first half, but UVA’s offense wasn’t too shabby either, shooting 53.8% from the field.

While Virginia’s offense was responsible for keeping the Cavaliers close in the first half, it was UVA’s defense that finally came to life in the second half.

Virginia honed in on Navy’s shooters, especially John Carter Jr., and Navy shot just 3/9 from deep in the second half. Carter Jr. did not make a single field goal until late in regulation, very much a product of the defense of Reece Beekman, who had six steals in the game.

UVA stepped up the effort on the defensive end and seemingly had the momentum of the game on its side, as the Hoos tied the game on multiple occasions, but never took the lead.

Navy made a crucial switch from a man-to-man defense to a variation of a 3-2 zone defense midway through the second half. Virginia was already finding points hard to come by and Navy’s defensive adjustment totally perplexed the Cavaliers.

After Kadin Shedrick made a layup to tie the game at 55-55, Virginia went from the 8:45 mark to the 0:15 mark of the second half without scoring a point. The Cavaliers continued to play well on defense over that stretch, giving themselves opportunity after opportunity to keep in stride with the Midshipmen, but the Hoos stayed cold.

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Virginia shot 4/16 from three-point territory and 28% from the field in the second half. Armaan Franklin, who shot 42.4% from three last season at Indiana, had a nightmarish shooting performance in his Cavalier debut, going 1/7 from three and 2-11 from the field.

Navy also out-hustled Virginia on the glass, out-rebounding UVA 35-30, including 10 offensive rebounds for the Midshipmen. Navy scored 10 second chance points, including layups by Sean Yoder and Daniel Deaver to put Navy up 61-55 with just 2:05 remaining.

Kihei Clark missed a three-pointer on Virginia’s next possession and, after UVA made a stop, Reece Beekman was whistled for an offensive foul on a push-off, giving the ball back to Navy with 53 seconds left.

After UVA had done so well guarding the perimeter and specifically holding John Carter Jr. in check in the second half, Carter Jr. was left open on the left wing and he sank the back-breaking three late in the shot clock to put the Midshipmen up 64-55 with just 24 seconds remaining.

Franklin hit his first three pointer to end Virginia’s scoring drought with 15 seconds left, but the shot was the definition of too little, too late.

Virginia lost its season opener for the first time since 2012, when the Cavaliers lost at George Mason to begin the season.

The Cavaliers will be back in action on Friday at 7pm against Radford at John Paul Jones Arena. 


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