CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) – On a night when one of the NBA’s greats, Steph Curry, and Virginia great Ty Jerome were courtside, all five Cavaliers’ starters scored in double-figures, led by Kihei Clark’s season-high 20 points, as they held off in-state rival Virginia Tech 78-68 Wednesday at a raucous John Paul Jones Arena.
Armaan Franklin had 15 points and 5 rebounds for Virginia, while Jason Gardner had 12 points and four rebounds, Reece Beekman had seven assists but also had 11 points, including a one-handed slam to close the first half and Ben Vander Plas had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Virginia (14-3, 6-2 ACC) led by nine, 40-31 at the half, and shot 50.9% from the field (29-for-57) while Virginia Tech (11-7, 1-6 ACC) was 49.1% from the field (27-for-55).
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett acknowledged the star-studded atmosphere, which also included former Virginia Tech football star Michael Vick.
“There was a couple good guards in attendance tonight,” Bennett said, referring to Curry and Jerome. “So I think they wanted to play well, (and) they sure did.”
Virginia Tech’s five starters also all scored in double figures, led by Darius Maddox’s 13 points and Grant Basile’s 12 points, but when it counted, the Hokies didn’t have an answer for Clark.
The Cavaliers (14-3, 6-2 ACC), who led for much of the game and by as much as 14 points, have now won four straight – beating Syracuse, North Carolina and Florida State ahead of the matchup against the Hokies.
“Rarely will you hear me say this, but we had to score,” Bennett said. “We had a hard time stopping them and we ran a good offense and we had timely baskets.”
Virginia Tech coach Mike Young was impressed with the Cavaliers.
“They were a little bit better than I thought they were, and I thought they were really good,” Young said. “I tell you what, if there are 10 teams out there better than them nationally, I’d like to see them.”