Senior leadership guides Cavaliers to victory

Senior leadership guides Cavaliers to victory
ANDREW SHURTLEFF, THE DAILY PROGRESS Virginia forward Jay Huff (30) blocks the shot of Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe (0) during the game Saturday in Charlottesville. Virginia won 63-58. (Source: ACC)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The 13th-ranked Virginia men’s basketball team improved to 6-0 in the ACC, with a 64-62 win against Georgia Tech on Saturday night at John Paul Jones Arena.

The margin of victory was the ‘Hoos smallest since early December, when they went to overtime against Kent State.

Every game since then has been decided by at least nine points.

This one was decided in the final minute, but the team says that can be beneficial down the road.

“Both teams were playing hard,” says head coach Tony Bennett. “It was just who’s gonna flinch first, or wear down. It was a game you had to win, because they weren’t going to lose.”

Senior Jay Huff says, “I think it gets these guys ready. Me, personally, I’ve been in probably a million two-point games with one minute left in my five years here. It’s pretty freaking ridiculous, actually. But for some of the First-Year’s, that’s something they have to get used to.”

The experienced players stepped up.

Jay Huff tied his season-high’s with 18-points and five blocks, and he only committed one foul.

Huff says, “When I play defense in the post, I just hear coach (Jason) Williford’s voice in the back of my head, yelling, ‘Stay down, stay down!’ So it’s just something I’ve improved on over my five years.”

“Jay made some big plays,” says Bennett. “I was as pleased with Jay on the defensive end as much as anything.”

Senior Sam Hauser says, “Jay is a really talented shot-blocker, and he can cover up for mistakes at the rim. Having a guy like him at the back end, that can make a difference, is definitely a big asset to have on our team.”

Hauser led the charge on the offensive end, scoring a game-high 22-points.

The senior scored 11-points during a critical 15-2 run by the Cavaliers in the 2nd half.

“You can’t just wait around in a game like that,” says Hauser. “You have to flip the switch, and turn it on.”

Bennett says, “He’s getting guarded pretty tightly. That was great to see, among some of his moves, post moves, and just a complete, heady player.”

Huff adds, “He makes some shots that just astound me. The one where he kind of went up-and-under, and shot a little bit of a floater on the baseline, I don’t even know what it was, but it was pretty ridiculous. The guy can score.”

Virginia will be back in action on Monday night, as they host Syracuse at seven o’clock.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.