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UVA tops Providence to win Legends Classic
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UVA tops Providence to win Legends Classic

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APTOPIX Providence Virginia Basketball

Providence's Ed Croswell (5) and Noah Horchler defend a shot by Virginia's Jayden Gardner (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Virginia headed to New Jersey for two basketball games in the Legends Classic very much “a work in progress,” as coach Tony Bennett said multiple times this month.

After topping previously undefeated Providence 58-40 in the championship game, getting a double-double from senior forward Jayden Gardner, the Cavaliers have made some progress.

"I think we took a step in the right way, for sure," said Bennett.

Gardner, a graduate transfer from East Carolina, scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as UVA won its third straight. The Cavaliers (4-2) turned in their best defensive performance of the young season, holding the Friars to just 24% shooting.

"I'm always tryin to be assertive on the offensive end," said Gardner. "I got great looks early."

Bennett’s team won its seventh November tournament in its last eight appearances.

A night after equaling his career-high scoring 23 points in Virginia’s 65-55 win over Georgia, guard Armaan Franklin scored 14 — all in the first half — before dealing with foul trouble throughout the second half.

Still, Franklin came out on top in the battle of Indiana transfers. Providence guard Al Durham, a graduate transfer who played the past four seasons with the Hoosiers, scored 10 points for the Friars (5-1).

After hitting just one of his seven attempts from 3-point range on Monday, Franklin canned his first two tries Tuesday night, giving UVA a 10-7 lead 4:43 into the contest.

A 13-0 run, that included Franklin’s third 3-pointer, put the Cavaliers up 17-7 with 10:35 to go in the half. Providence went 6:33 without a basket.

Franklin and Gardner combined for 24 of Virginia’s 30 first-half points, with Franklin hitting four 3s in the stanza. No other UVA player scored until Reece Beekman got on the board and put the Cavaliers up 21-9 with 5:43 in the half.

"They played their style," said Providence coach Ed Cooley. "I thought their brand wore us down early."

UVA tightened its defense in the second half of its Monday night win over Georgia, and didn’t let up any Tuesday against the Friars. Sophomore forward Kadin Shedrick blocked five shots and grabbed six rebounds.

Providence shot 26% and committed seven turnovers in the first half as the Cavaliers built a 30-15 lead at the break.

“I thought they were a little tougher," said Cooley. "They imposed their style on us.”

But ball security became an issue for Virginia. A night after committing just four turnovers, UVA gave it away that many times in the first half. Its 11 second-half turnovers helped Providence hang in the game.

Fueled by Virginia’s inability to protect the ball, the Friars went on 13-2 run, with Horchler scoring the first 8 of that spurt, and trimmed their deficit to 42-36 with 10:49 to go.

But UVA answered, finally ending its scoring drought with a putback dunk by Shedrick and a jumper from Gardner. Gardner drew a foul on his made shot and hit the free throw to put the Cavaliers up 47-36 with 7:35 left in the game, giving Virginia control for good.

"They used so much energy and they were coming at us," said Bennett. "Trapping. Back-tipping. Full-court press and I think that took a lot of energy out of them. But I did feel like, we kind of imposed our will a little bit with making it for them defensively."

Senior point guard Kihei Clark finished with 10 points and five assists.

Next, Virginia begins a three-game homestand starting with Friday night’s game against Lehigh.

FG FT Reb

VIRGINIA M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Gardner 36 8-9 5-5 4-13 0 2 21

Shedrick 24 2-6 0-0 1-7 0 4 4

Beekman 38 2-8 1-1 0-4 7 3 5

Clark 39 4-12 0-0 0-3 5 1 10

Franklin 24 5-7 0-0 0-0 1 4 14

Caffaro 16 1-2 2-4 3-7 0 1 4

Stattmann 13 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Poindexter 6 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 0

Milicic 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

McCorkle 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 22-45 8-10 8-36 14 17 58

Percentages: FG .489, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 6-12, .500 (Franklin 4-6, Clark 2-5, Stattmann 0-1). Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: 2. Blocked Shots: 8 (Shedrick 5, Beekman 2, Caffaro). Turnovers: 13 (Franklin 4, Gardner 4, Caffaro 2, Clark, Shedrick, Stattmann). Steals: 2 (Beekman, Franklin).

FG FT Reb

PROVIDENCE M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Horchler 37 4-8 5-5 2-7 2 4 14

Minaya 30 0-4 1-2 0-2 0 3 1

Watson 27 4-11 0-2 3-4 0 2 8

Bynum 19 0-4 2-2 0-0 3 1 2

Durham 38 3-10 3-4 0-2 2 2 10

Goodine 19 1-7 2-3 0-3 0 2 5

Croswell 13 0-2 0-0 2-3 0 0 0

Breed 9 0-2 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

Reeves 8 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Totals 200 12-51 13-18 7-22 9 15 40

Percentages: FG .235, FT .722. 3-Point Goals: 3-22, .136 (Durham 1-4, Horchler 1-4, Goodine 1-5, Breed 0-1, Bynum 0-2, Minaya 0-3, Reeves 0-3). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 2. Blocked Shots: 5 (Bynum 2, Horchler, Minaya, Watson). Turnovers: 6 (Bynum 2, Durham 2, Watson 2). Steals: 8 (Minaya 3, Bynum 2, Goodine, Horchler, Watson).

Virginia 30 28 — 58

Providence 15 25 — 40

mbarber@timesdispatch.com

Twitter: @RTD_MikeBarber

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