Block at the buzzer ends Cavaliers’ season in NIT Quarterfinals

Kihei Clark had 2 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds, and only played 21:55 after getting in...
Kihei Clark had 2 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds, and only played 21:55 after getting in foul trouble in the 1st half.(wvir)
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Kihei Clark dribbled the length of the court with the game on the line, but his shot at the buzzer was blocked, and the Virginia men’s basketball team lost 52-51 against St. Bonaventure in the NIT Quarterfinals on Tuesday at John Paul Jones Arena.

Armaan Franklin hit back-to-back three-pointers to give UVA a 50-45 lead with 3:01 remaining, but the ‘Hoos would only score one point the rest of the way, and they missed key opportunities from the free throw line.

St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt says, “That’s a heck of a team, and I thought we guarded just as well as they did. It was a rock fight. We got down by five, 50-45, and didn’t give up. Two minutes left, usually when you play Virginia and you’re down by five, it’s like your down by fifteen.”

UVA sophomore Reece Beekman fouled out on a questionable call with 1:50 remaining in the contest.

After Dominick Welch hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one with 23 seconds left, Jayden Gardner missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for Virginia.

Kyle Lofton drew a foul at the other end, and hit two free throws to put the Bonnies in front.

UVA put the ball into the hands of its senior point guard, but Clark’s mad dash from end-to-end was blocked at the rim by Osun Osunniyi.

“A lot of people are upset” says UVA junior Armaan Franklin. “You want to win in March, whether it’s in March Madness, or in the NIT. We’re not happy after any loss, but especially after one that ends your season. It’s kind of a somber mood in the locker room, I would say.”

Franklin made 5-of-11 three-pointers, and scored a game-high 17 points, but UVA shot just 37.5 percent from the floor as a team.

Head coach Tony Bennett says, “We struggled to shoot this year, and we still found ways to squeak them out. Most of our games were squeakers, the one’s we won. I think they improved from start to finish, and they became tougher. I think this offseason is important.”

UVA finishes the 2021-22 season with a record of 21-14 overall.

St. Bonaventure advances to face Xavier in the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

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