Second-Half Shooting Lifts Cavaliers Over No. 5 Baylor, 86-79


LAS VEGAS — After making just one 3-pointer in the first half, No. 16 Virginia (3-0) went 8-for-12 from deep in the final 20 minutes to knock off No. 5 Baylor (3-1) 86-79 Friday evening (Nov. 18) at the Continental Tire Main Event from T-Mobile Arena.

Virginia was led by guard Armaan Franklin, who scored a career-high 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He finished 3-for-6 from deep and made 9 of his 10 attempts at the charity stripe.

The Cavaliers also received big boosts from center Kadin Shedrick (17 points, 6-6 FG, 2 blocks), guard Reece Beekman (10 points, 10 assists), who notched his second career double-double, and Ben Vander Plas (14 points, 4-5 FG).

Baylor clung to a 33-30 advantage at halftime after leading for 12:51 in the first 20 minutes of play. The Cavaliers trailed by as many as seven points, 28-21, at the 4:11 mark, but UVA quickly made it a one-possession game again after Vander Plas knocked down a 3-pointer and Franklin came up with a steal and converted a layup in transition to cut the Bears’ lead to two, 28-26. Franklin and Shedrick led all Virginia scorers at the half with eight points each. Shedrick was 4-for-4 from the field through the first 20 minutes of play. Baylor shot 7-for-17 from 3-point range in the first half, while the Cavaliers were just 1-for-2 from deep.

Virginia put on a shooting clinic in the second half, knocking down 13 of its 20 attempts, eight of which were from behind the arc. The Cavaliers flipped the score early in the second half to regain the lead, 36-35, after draining their first two 3-point attempts of the half. Virginia embarked on a 14-0 run towards the middle of the half and ultimately grasped its largest lead of the contest, 62-40, with 9:38 remaining. Baylor implemented a full court zone press, which gave Virginia fits the rest of the way. The Bears cut the UVA lead to as little as six (79-73) with 1:04 to play, but the Cavaliers went 7-of-8 at the line with under 1:00 to play as the Baylor fouls mounted in an attempt to stall the clock. All 10 of Beekman’s points came in the second half.

Armaan Franklin. Franklin scored 18 of his career-best 26 points in the second half after with sinking all three of his 3s in the final 20 minutes of play. Franklin also went 9-for-10 at the free throw line in the second half. After shooting 29.6 percent from deep in 2021-22, Franklin is 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range so far this season.

Virginia concludes action at the Continental Tire Main Event on Sunday (Nov. 20) at 3 p.m. ET as the Cavaliers await the winner of Friday night’s semifinal between No. 19 Illinois (3-0) and No. 8 UCLA (3-0). Sunday’s final will be broadcast on ESPN.

UVA head coach Tony Bennett on his team’s 56-point second half: “Guys got hot. Everybody started shooting it. But we were getting good looks. They were rhythm shots. We just got freed up. They play such an aggressive kind of defense, where they’re switching, and we just got enough easy looks, and then guys obviously got the shots and made a couple tough ones. It was just one of those games where it went right.”

Bennett on playing for the first time since UVA football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were shot and killed in Charlottesville: “Win or lose, there was perspective in this game for us, and we wanted to try to honor, to the best of our abilities, our football team and our staff and then of course the young men that went to be with the Lord. It felt good to do that at the end.”

Franklin on his performance: “It just felt really good. Honestly, I’m just going out there and just playing. Trying to play smart, trying to play hard, do whatever I have to do for the team. Make a shot, miss a shot, just staying confident.”

Franklin on Shedrick: “That was one of the best games I’ve seen Kadin play: offensively, defensively, him just being confident on both sides of the floor.”