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Three takeaways from Virginia's 58-40 win over Providence

Three takeaways from Virginia's 58-40 win over Providence

That’s three in a row.

Virginia won its third straight game with a 58-40 victory against Providence in the Legends Classic championship game on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The Cavaliers (4-2) held the Friars (5-1) to the fewest points they’ve scored in a game this season and their 23.5-percent shooting clip was the lowest they’ve had in a game this season.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s win for UVa:

Defense carries over

After UVa knocked off Georgia in Monday’s semifinal, Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said he was pleased with how his players defended during the second half of their victory.

“I think they got a good example of if you lock down, it can help you withstand either a drought or cold offense,” Bennett said after beating the Bulldogs.

And on Tuesday, the strong defense carried over into the first half of their victory against Providence.

While the Cavaliers built a 17-7 lead, they held the Friars scoreless for a stretch of more than six and a half minutes. During that span, Hoos guard Kihei Clark drew a charge and Virginia forced a pair of turnovers.

UVa finished the half with seven forced turnovers and held the Friars to a 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) shooting clip from the field and 1-of-9 mark from 3-point range.

The Cavaliers went into the locker room with a 30-15 advantage. Prior to Tuesday, the last time UVa held an opponent to fewer than 20 points in the first half was when it won at Clemson last January and limited the Tigers to 17 first-half points.

Gardner, Franklin lead the way

It wasn’t until the 5:43 mark of the first half — when Reece Beekman made a layup on a fast break — that a UVa player other than Armaan Franklin or Jayden Gardner scored for the Hoos.

The Indiana and East Carolina transfers were the sources of offense for the Cavaliers throughout the first half, and Gardner continued his scoring ways into the second half.

Franklin made five of his first seven shots of from the field and four of his first three shots from 3-point distance. He drilled consecutive 3s to start his night, and the second went in after he used the glass to bank in the attempt from beyond the arc.

Franklin tallied 14 points on the evening, marking the third time in the last four games he’s scored in double figures.

As for Gardner, he dominated in the paint early while hitting his first four attempts from close range. On the low block, Gardner floated shots over opposing defenders and used his strength, at times, to get closer to rim for an even easier attempt.

He finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, recording a double-double for the third time this season.

Hoos hold through Friars’ run

Franklin’s biggest problem on Tuesday was his foul trouble. Twenty-two seconds into the second half, he picked up his third foul and that forced Bennett to keep Franklin on the bench until there were less than 14 minutes to go.

Unfortunately for Franklin, when he entered again, he drew a fourth foul with 11:46 left.

With Franklin out, UVa struggled on offense as the Friars went on a 13-2 run to pull within six points.

But the Cavaliers steadied themselves before the under-8 timeout. Cavaliers forwards Kadin Shedrick dunked and on the next possession Gardner powered through the PC defense and drew a foul to finish the traditional three-point play. That extended the UVa lead to double digits again.

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