No. 13 Virginia handles Louisville, clinches share of league title

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In the final home game of his college career, Jayden Gardner scored 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help propel No. 13 Virginia to a wire-to-wire 75-60 victory over Louisville on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

Armaan Franklin added 16 points and five assists as Virginia (23-6, 15-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won a share of the league title and clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s ACC tournament.

It is the sixth regular-season banner for the Cavaliers since 2014. They tie the winner of Saturday night’s Pitt-Miami game for first place in the ACC. Both teams beat Virginia in the regular season and own the tiebreaker to decide the top seed for the conference tournament.

Virginia dominated from the start on Saturday, showing why it leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. In the first half, the Cavaliers had just three miscues and all 13 of their baskets came by way of passes. Virginia totaled 25 assists to seven turnovers for the game.

Reece Beekman had five points, 11 assists and zero turnovers for Virginia. Kihei Clark added six points and six assists in his final home game.

Mike James topped Louisville (4-27, 2-18) with 24 points. El Ellis added 14 points for the Cardinals, who have already topped the school record for losses in a season.

Before the game was three minutes old, Franklin and Clark had 3-pointers and Virginia had an 8-2 lead.

During a dry spell in which Louisville failed to score a field goal, Virginia went on a 13-2 run, triggered by Francisco Caffaro’s slam dunk.

During the run, Gardner worked inside for two baskets and Franklin added another 3-pointer as the Cavaliers rolled to a 26-10 lead.

From there, Louisville never got the deficit into single digits.

James scored seven straight points for the Cardinals late in the first half, but Cavaliers reserve Isaac McKneely hit a 3-pointer to make it 36-20 at the break.

In the second half, Virginia’s advantage toggled between 12 and 19 points.

In the final minute, after fans chanted for an appearance from walk-on senior Chase Coleman, Virginia coach Tony Bennett complied, and Coleman responded with a celebratory 3-pointer with 30 seconds left.

–Field Level Media

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