The last NCAA champions, No.4 Virginia Cavaliers, were heavily upset today, losing against the San Francisco Dons, 61-60.
Right now, this is the biggest surprise since the start of the NCAA campaign. Tony Bennet’s guys were stunned by the hard finish of the rivals, yet eventually having the chance to win the game.
Sam Hauser, who transferred from Marquette, missed a game-winner with two seconds to go, with the Dons being up one point. Trey Murphy III tried to tip the ball into the basket, yet without any success.
With a little bit under four minutes to go, the Cavs were up 54-53, but after that, allowed Dons to make an 8-0 run that saw two three-pointers. One came from Khalil Shabazz, and the other from Taavi Jurkatamm. Virginia came back, defending San Francisco’s final attack, but not utilizing their one.
Overall, they were very bad offensively, with 21 field goals in 51 attempts and just three threes in 12 tries. Only three players had a double-digit number of points, with Reece Beekman and Justin McKoy delivering 11 each and Hauser having 10. Both McKoy and Beekman had 6 rebounds.
Jamaree Bouyea scored 19 points for the Dons, shooting 8-for-15 and hitting three threes. Shabazz had 14 points with five boards, and Dzmitry Ryuny delivered 10 off the bench. Josh Kunen had 8 with seven rebounds. Unlike the Cavaliers, San Francisco was excellent from downtown, 13-for-28, but would end the game with just four free throws. On the other side, they had 14 assists, compared to Virginia’s five.
The 2018 champions were 15.5-point favorites before the match started, and after successfully beating Towson with 89-54, everybody expected another easy win. However, it seems that their superb defense couldn’t cover up a terrible offensive performance.
San Francisco also defeated Towson, 79-68, but they lost the season’s opening match, against UMass Lowell, 76-68. The contest against Virginia was their third in the same number of days.
This school has two NCAA titles, won in 1955 and 1956, when they defeated La Salle and Iowa in the finals. Their best player back then was Bill Russell.
Up next, the Dons meet Rhode Island this Sunday, also at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, where the “Bubbleville” tournament takes place.-->
The Cavaliers, however, now head home to play with Saint Francis. That match is scheduled for Tuesday if everything goes well.