To open the Legends Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Virginia topped Georgia, 65-55, on Monday.
It’s the Cavaliers’ first-win over a fellow high-major program this season and their first victory over a foe from the Southeastern Conference since knocking off Auburn in the 2019 Final Four.
UVa advances to Tuesday’s event final to face either Northwestern or Providence, which were scheduled to meet later Monday.
Here’s three takeaways from the Cavaliers’ win over the Bulldogs:
Fast start fuels Franklin
UVa (3-2) opened the game 0-of-6 from the field, but junior guard Armaan Franklin reversed the Wahoos’ shooting efficiency woes almost single-handedly.
The 6-foot-4 Indiana transfer tallied the Cavaliers’ first nine points of the contest while connecting on four of his first five tries from the field. He made three layups, including one off of a steal. Franklin also buried a shot from beyond the arc during that sequence.
And that foreshadowed strong performance for Franklin, who showed off his mid-range shooting in the second half. Franklin shot 50 percent from the field and logged the most minutes of any UVa player on Monday.
He also was productive on defense, guarding on the perimeter and challenging layups on the rim. Franklin notched three steals and a block on top of 23 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Defense tightens up
Franklin’s effort on defense was part of a dominant second half for the Cavaliers on that side of the floor.
The Cavaliers forced nine second-half turnovers and held Georgia (2-3) to a 25-percent clip from the field and a 1-of-13 effort from 3 over the final 20 minutes.
In the first half, the Bulldogs shot 52.2 percent from the field.
The Cavaliers also forced a shot-clock violation in the second half.
UVa’s 14 total forced turnovers led to 16 points.
Managing foul trouble
Three frontcourt starting players for the Cavaliers — Jayden Gardner, Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro — each had three fouls prior to the 13-minute mark in the second half, which forced UVa coach Tony Bennett to manage his rotations wisely and those three to play carefully in order avoid further foul trouble.
But when Shedrick was on the floor with a smaller lineup around him, he picked up his fourth with 10:47 to go and seven seconds after Shedrick was subbed out for Caffaro, he picked up his fourth.
Gardner entered for Caffaro immediately, and eventually Shedrick returned to finish the game.
Both Gardner and Shedrick played well through the foul trouble the rest of the way.
Gardner scored five of his 11 points in the second half and Shedrick grabbed five of his seven rebounds and had three of his four blocks in the second half.