GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sam Hauser was great, Trey Murphy III was clutch, but it was freshman guard Reece Beekman who hit the shot that sent top-seeded Virginia into the semifinals of the ACC tournament.
Beekman’s corner 3 at the buzzer lifted UVA to a 72-69 win Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
“That’s what March is,” said Hauser. “We’re playing for a lot. Reece made a huge shot at the end.”
Hauser scored 21 points despite struggling from beyond the 3-point arc, and Murphy hit a trio of late second-half 3-pointers and a pair of free throws with 1:16 to go as UVA survived another offensive onslaught from Buddy Boeheim.
The Syracuse guard scored 31 points, the last two on game-tying free throws with 29 seconds to play.
Virginia advances to play the winner of the Georgia Tech-Miami game.
Murphy scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, including knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers with 2:53 to go to help Virginia pull out a thrilling win in its 2021 tournament debut.
UVA drilled Syracuse 81-58 on Jan. 25. In that game, the Cavaliers hit 14 3-pointers, including seven from Hauser. They held Boeheim to just nine points.
Thursday was a different story.
UVA’s first three possessions produced a long late 3 attempt missed by Murphy, a badly missed 3 from the wing by Beekman and a tightly-contested 3 by Hauser that rimmed out. Syracuse out to a 7-0 lead early on.
A day after lighting up North Carolina State for 27 points in the Orange’s second-round win, Boeheim struck for 10 in the first 8:20 of play against the Cavaliers, helping Syracuse to a 20-14 lead.
The Orange went up by as many as 11, taking a 37-26 lead with 6:03 to play in the half. But Virginia ended the half on a 10-2 run and nearly tied the game when Hauser’s long 3 rimmed out at the horn.
Syracuse led 39-36 at the break.
Murphy and Hauser hit 3-pointers to open the second half, tying the game, then giving the Cavaliers their first lead at 42-39, prompting Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to call timeout. The rest of the half remained tight.
Murphy’s surge appeared to give UVA some breathing room, but in the end, it took Beekman’s heroics to seal the deal.