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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / May 28.
  • Guess Who’s Back: No. 23 Virginia Takes Down No. 5 UNC

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    By MIKE McCURRY

    Last Monday, Virginia lost its fourth consecutive game via a 54-48 overtime setback at home against Miami.

    The Cavaliers’ offensive struggles looked to be irreparable. London Perrantes couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Kyle Guy wasn’t even getting playing time. The sky was falling in Charlottesville.

    One week later, all is again right with the Hoos.

    No. 23 Virginia beat No. 5 UNC by a 53-43 final behind Guy and Perrantes’ collective perimeter shooting coupled with one of the more superb versions of UVA’s Pack Line defense that we’ve seen this season.

    In a matchup of strengths, UNC’s ACC-leading offense mustered just 43 points on 0.75 points per possession against Virginia’s conference-leading defense—a historically bad Tar Heels output.

    Joel Berry, who scored 12 points, was the lone UNC player to reach double-figures.

    ACC Player of the Year hopeful Justin Jackson had 7 points (on 3-of-10 shooting), matching a season-low. It was also Jackson’s first game of the 2017 calendar year in which he did not make multiple three-pointers.

    UNC shot 4-of-16 from beyond the arc. Virginia was 10-of-24 in that department, making the Cavaliers 21-of-40 (53 percent) on threes over the last three days. That’s one way to break out of a shooting slump.

    The last time these two teams played, just nine days ago on February 18, North Carolina won by 24. That marked the first of two straight games in which Guy was held scoreless, as UVA head coach Tony Bennett elected to go with more experienced, defensive-minded guards while keeping one of his most prolific scorers on the pine—the freshman played 15 minutes total in those two contests.

    Bennett has since adjusted his rotation. Guy, who hit 5-of-7 threes in Saturday’s win over NC State, replicated that perimeter showing against UNC, adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists (0 turnovers) for good measure. He’s played 32 and 35 minutes, respectively, during this two-game win streak. Long live the man bun.

    Perrantes, too, has snapped out of his funk. The senior point guard has made 6-of-13 threes in the last two games after hitting just 5-of-28 over UVA’s four-game losing streak.

    As a result, Virginia beat a Carolina team that many were beginning to believe was the most complete team in the country by ten points.

    And just like that, UVA is terrifying again.

    Photo: Andrew Shurtleff

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