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VIRGINIA BASKETBALL ANALYSIS

Three takeaways from Virginia's 75-74 loss to Iowa

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Virginia forward Jayden Gardner, left, drives to the basket against Iowa during the Big Ten\ACC Challenge on Monday at John Paul Jones Arena.

John Paul Jones Arena reached its noisiest pinnacle of the young campaign when Virginia guard Kihei Clark’s 3-pointer from the top of the key found the bottom of the net and gave the Cavaliers a one-point lead with 45 seconds left in a game they had trailed by as many as 21 points.

Unfortunately for the Hoos, it didn’t hold up as the game-winner.

Iowa guard Joe Toussaint’s floater with eight seconds left provided the visitors a 75-74 victory in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Monday in Charlottesville.

Here are three takeaways from UVa’s heartbreaking loss

Can’t leave them open

More than the nation’s leading scorer entering Monday, Keegan Murray, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon bothered the Cavaliers as the Hawkeyes built their lead and he was there to provide resistance when UVa was attempting to rally.

Bohannon drilled his first four attempts from 3-point range, knocking down his shots from wherever he could find enough space beyond the arc to fire an attempt.

He had 20 points in the victory, but his most important shot answered a 3 from Virginia’s Taine Murray, who was equally up to task from deep, with 1:15 to go. Bohannon’s last 3-pointer put Iowa ahead 73-71 after Murray gave UVa its first lead since 2-0 on the previous possession.

Murray set a career high for minutes with 21 and he was 4-of-6 from 3 with 14 points in the loss.

Slouching without Shedrick

In the opening half, Iowa began to build its advantage with a pair of separate, lopsided runs. The Hawkeyes used a 7-0 burst to take an eight-point lead less than six minutes into the action and then later went on a 15-0 run as they expanded their edge to double digits.

A commonality of those game-changing spurts was UVa playing without starting forward Kadin Shedrick. The 6-foot-11 shot-blocking specialist faced foul trouble beginning on Iowa’s second possession and Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett — likely thinking he could preserve Shedrick for later on — immediately subbed out Shedrick, who didn’t return until the 12-minute mark of the first half. Unfortunately for Shedrick and the Hoos, he didn’t last long upon reentering. He was called for second foul two minutes later, forcing UVa to lose its rim protector for the rest of the half.

This past Friday after the Cavaliers knocked off Lehigh, UVa guard Reece Beekman called Shedrick a “safety” for the Pack Line defense, noting if any mistakes were made that his length and ability to block shots could provide insurance.

Iowa took advantage of Shedrick’s absence when it slashed toward the basket to find frequent layups and close-range shots. The Hawkeyes made 20 points in the paint through the first 20 minutes.

Shedrick logged 24 total minutes, with all but 3:37 coming in the second half as the Cavaliers tried to plot a come-from-behind win. He had nine points, six rebounds and a block.

Bennett said Shedrick did a good job defending Keegan Murray in the second half, too.

Good time for Gardner’s first 3

Before Monday, UVa forward Jayden Gardner had not attempted a 3-pointer this season.

But in the second half, he sunk two 3s from the corner and his second cut Iowa’s edge to just 10 points with about 16 minutes left to play after the Hawkeyes had grown their lead to as large as 21 points in the first half.

The second shot from deep reengaged the UVa faithful as they sensed a potential comeback brewing.

Gardner, the East Carolina transfer, was solid from start to finish as he tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, recording his sixth double-digit scoring performance of the season.

He scored eight of his points in the first half to lead UVa at the break.

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