Its marquee nonconference contest didn’t go as planned for Virginia in a 67-47 loss at No. 15 Houston on Tuesday at the Fertitta Center in Texas.
The Cavaliers never led in the game and the Cougars (3-0) grew their advantage to as large as 23 points in the victory.
UVa — a winner this past Friday over Radford, but having already suffered a loss last week to Navy — is 1-2 for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign when it beat Fairfield but lost to George Mason and Delaware.
Here are three takeaways from UVa’s road setback:
The Cavaliers couldn’t overcome their sluggish beginning to Tuesday’s contest.
Houston scored the game’s first eight points and led by a dozen only six minutes into the action. The Cougars built their lead by knocking down their first three attempts from the field, including two 3s from Kyler Edwards and Marcus Sasser, which proved to set those two in the right direction for the rest of the evening. UVa, on the other hand, opened 1-of-4 from the field, 0-for-2 from the free-throw line and had three turnovers up until the first media timeout.
Aside from a pair of 3s each from guards Kihei Clark and Kody Stattmann, there weren’t many positives for UVa through the first half. The Cavaliers turned it over 12 times in the first 20 minutes and Houston scored 14 points off those turnovers. UVa had zero points off turnovers at the break.
Virginia finished 15-of-43 from the field for the game and also missed eight free throws in its 47-point offensive effort as its slow start continued into the second half. The 47 points were the fewest the Cavaliers scored in a game since March 4, 2020 in a 46-44 win at Miami.
Edwards’ 18 points were a game best as he knocked down 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc.
It’s the second time the Cavaliers have matched up with Edwards, a first-year transfer playing out his senior campaign with Houston on the heels of spending his first three seasons at Texas Tech.
With the Red Raiders as a freshman, he played against UVa in the Cavaliers’ 85-77 win in the 2019 national championship game over Texas Tech. Edwards tallied 12 points in the title bout while shooting 2-of-3 from 3-point range that night.
Edwards, a 6-foot-4 guard, proved he can still drill jumpers from long range, but showed off ability to drive the basketball, draw fouls and earn extra chances from the free-throw line on Tuesday.
On a night in which UVa didn’t get much offensively, Kody Stattmann did provide the Cavaliers with eight points, three rebounds and an assist off the bench.
For a team looking for more scorers and contributors on offense, that has to be encouraging considering Stattmann, a senior, has only scored eight points or more five times previously in his career. If the Australia native can connect on jump shots regularly moving ahead like he did against Houston, the Hoos would benefit.