CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia men’s basketball team was able to avoid its second upset of the season, as the 15th ranked Cavaliers defeated Kent State 71-64 in overtime on Friday at John Paul Jones Arena.
UVA head coach Tony Bennett says, “We faltered against San Francisco, and we came away in this one, so you take that. But those are important situations to be in. You can feel the emotions, you see things waver, and then you get hope. But you just have to keep chipping away, at all areas, for us.”
UVA outscored the Golden Flashes 9-2 in OT, and Kent State’s only basket came with 20-seconds remaining in the five-minute period.
Sam Hauser scored six of the ‘Hoos nine points in the extra frame.
The game featured eight ties and 13 lead changes.
Danny Pippen hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to OT, after Virginia had taken the lead at the free throw line.
“After the game, I told them, ‘Here’s the line, of maximum effort, and what you think it is,’ says Bennett. “And for the most part, I see it, at times, they’re getting there. But there’s a line above it, about being uncomfortable, that we have to somehow, as a group, find a way to get to. Especially defensively. An all-out, lay-it-on-the-line, for each other, scrappin’, that is necessary.”
Hauser says, “I’d say for the most part, we’re pretty calm. I think we need to get more of that fiery edge, more consistently, cause I think that feeds into our energy. Not only on the court, but even on the bench.”
“We got a long way to go,” says junior guard Kihei Clark. “I know it’s a long season. It’s early, but we just have to learn how to grind it out.”
Jay Huff had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Wahoos, while Sam Hauser had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Virginia (3-1) will be back in action against #8 Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday at JPJ.