#12 Virginia shakes off Christmas break rust, dispatches Albany, 66-46
It took Virginia most of the first half to shake off the Christmas break rust. It helped that Wednesday night’s opponent was Albany.
A 30-4 run in a 16-minute stretch did the trick to propel the 12th-ranked Cavaliers to a 66-46 victory.
The first 18 minutes weren’t pretty for UVA (9-2), which trailed for 3:32 of the first half, with things going so far that Tony Bennett called timeout after a Da’ jumper Kquan Davis reached 19. -15 Great Danes at 7:55.
Virginia closed the first half on an 11-0 run that Kihei Clark practically wished existed. After an Armaan Franklin and one put the ‘Hoos on top, 27-24, Clark picked Albany guard Malik Edmead’s pocket in the backcourt on second trips down the court, turning both into quick layups .
Clark later assisted on a Jayden Gardner layup with 27 seconds left that made it 33-24 Virginia at the break.
The Virginia D held the Danes to eight points in the second half until Bennett emptied the bench with five minutes remaining.
Franklin had 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting to lead UVA, which got 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds from Gardner.
Clark had eight points and 10 assists.
Reece Beekman did not play. No official word on that at this writing, but it’s assumed to be related to his lingering ankle and hamstring injuries dating back to the 70-68 win at Michigan on Nov. 29.
Not much to take from this. Albany (5-10) was ranked No. 326 on KenPom.com and did a solid job lasting 20 minutes.
It was good to see Franklin back on track. Since his 26-point outburst in an 86-79 win over Baylor on Nov. 18, he’s averaged 6.2 points per game over the last seven, including laying a goose egg on 0-of-7-13 shooting .minutes in a 66-64 loss at Miami on Dec. 20.
One point to note is that Bennett started Ben Vander Plas at center, but he got him into foul trouble and BVP ended up getting just 15 minutes, with three points on 1-of-4 shooting from three.
Kadin Shedrick had a nice game off the bench, with eight points and six boards in 22 minutes.
Another item worth mentioning: Francisco Caffaro – whose last name, we now know, should have been pronounced CAFF-a-ro all along, not CA-far-o, as we had been for the past five years – there were two points. and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
He also missed all five of his free throw attempts.
Caffaro was 6-of-7 at the line this season with the other spell.