CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia men’s basketball team lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, as the 4-seed Cavaliers were upset 62-58 against 13-seed Ohio in Bloomington.
UVA was held to just two points during a nearly 10 minute stretch in the 2nd half.
Virginia led 38-31 with 14:35 remaining in the 2nd half, but Ohio went on a 16-2 run to take a 47-40 lead with 4:43 remaining.
The Cavaliers went without practicing for a week before the Big Dance, due to COVID-19 protocols, and they are leaving Indianapolis one day after they arrived.
“The NCAA allowed us to come in in a unique way,” says head coach Tony Bennett. “Thankful for it, but it just stings right now, to not advance in this tournament. It’s such a special tournament. You know how that goes, the last game of the year is always tough, and I know our guys are feeling it right now.”
Ohio head coach Jeff Boals says, “I want to give Virginia all the credit in the world for what they went through. Tough to go through a COVID pause, not practice, flying the day before. They missed some shots they normally make. Feel very fortunate, and very grateful.”
Bennett Vander Plas scored a game-high 17 points for the Bobcats.
Sam Hauser led the ‘Hoos with 15 points and nine rebounds.
UVA shot a season-low 35-percent from the field as a team (21-of-60), and they were out-rebounded 38-30.
Bennett says, “I’ve faced such joy in this tournament, on so many occasions, and I’ve faced the heartache, too. You have to, as I always say, be willing to accept them both, and know when your career is done, this doesn’t define you. Whether you win it all, or you lose, or anything. It’s what you do, you do it with love and joy and passion, and you don’t let it define you, beyond what it should.”
Senior Sam Hauser says, “They’re going to respond, for sure. Taking a loss like this is tough. Ending your year like this is tough. I know the guys who will come back are going to take this personally. I think they’re going to get even better from it. I’m not too worried about that for our guys coming back next year.”
Virginia was playing in its seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament, which is the longest streak in program history.
The 2019 NCAA Tournament Champions finish the 2021 season with a record of 18-7, while Ohio advances to face 5-seed Creighton in the 2nd round.