CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia men’s basketball team has lost back-to-back games for the first time in almost three years, as the 18th ranked Cavaliers fell 63-55 in overtime against Syracuse on Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena.
UVa is on its first losing streak since February of 2017, when the 'Hoos lost at home against Duke, and on the road at North Carolina.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett says, "It’s hard to win, and a lot of these guys aren’t used to losing. We lost a couple in a row. It’s a fine line, and all those little things matter. You got to be able to win together, you got to be able to lose together, and then grow, and that’s what we’ll do.”
“We, as players, have to be coaches, basically," says senior Mamadi Diakite. "We have to be leaders. The coaches can do whatever they can, but at the end of the day, if the players are not stepping up, and doing what they’re supposed to do, it’s not gonna happen.”
Virginia and Syracuse entered overtime tied at 43-43 on Saturday, but the Orange offense exploded in the extra period, as they made 5-of-6 three-point attempts.
The 'Cuse only scored 19 points in the 2nd half against the Cavalier defense, but they poured in 20 in the five-minute overtime, while making 6-of-7 shots from the field.
Jay Huff led Virginia with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Mamadi Diakite added 13 points and eight boards.
Kihei Clark dished out nine assists, to go along with 13 points. Joseph Girard III scored a game-high 19 points for SU.
The Cavaliers beat the Orange 48-34 in the season opener in Syracuse, while limiting the 'Cuse to 23.6 percent shooting.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim says, “They’re a tremendous team, they just don’t score as much as they did last year, but they’re fine. They’re a really good basketball team. They’ll be more than fine.”
UVa (11-4, 3-2 ACC) will be back in action on Wednesday at No. 10 Florida State.